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A Wish List of Ideas for Changes on Campus

I'm sure that all of us at one time or another have wished that the MIT campus was different. I certainly have a list of changes that I'd like to see. From the structure of the campus to everything within it, here are some of the ideas that I've come up with:

First of all, let's stick with the current layout of the campus as it stands today. As much as I'd like to see the current potpourri of architectural styles and its arrangement change a bit, I somehow don't see it as being a reasonable request in the near future.

When you came to visit here at MIT, did you have any clue how to get anywhere if you were left on your own? Oh sure, you could walk all the way down that long hallway and hang a left into 26-100, or, go through buildings 7, 3, 10, up the stairs, back around, into 10-250, but who's going to remember all of this seemingly nonsensical trivia?

Certainly not the hordes of tour groups that wander through our institution with a look on their face of the "Dazed and Confused" variety. OK, so we all think that the numbers are cute, handy, and you're going to get used to it all, but how about using some normal alphabetical names, where you don't have to think about odd numbers, prime numbers, and whatever else?

Or what if we put up some maps at various points along the campus so that people will know how to get to Killian Court, Kresge, Stratton, Building X, the local T station and the bus stop? Having our maps where they are now isn't going to help that pour soul that doesn't speak English when he's over at the Hayden Library instead of Lobdell. You know those signs that they have to point out rooms 10-250, 6-120, and 26-100 to those LSAT and GMAT takers? Why can't they just leave those up all the time?

Have you ever wondered what time it is when you walk down any of the 11,000 hallways in our institute? The only clock I remember seeing outside of a lecture hall is the one in Lobby 7. I mean, come on, some us like to see how quickly we can walk with three textbooks in one hand and a notebook in the other. I think that clocks at some of the major hallway intersections would be helpful, don't you? And we don't need ones that say MIT on it, or are fancy and expensive - just clocks that are plain and simple, like the hallways they would occupy.

Speaking of plain and simple hallways, how about some different colors around the Institute? White is nice, but if those painters are going to repaint it every year, why don't they do it in different colors, or have some cool murals put up to last for a long time? The jungle scene with the two guys arguing over the elephant's ears and the one with the dancing Hispanic people are examples. Why don't we have ideas submitted for paintings, and artists can be selected by the community to put them up?

Isn't it amazing how many Athena chairs get ripped off every year? I can see how chaining them up would be a very cumbersome task, and it probably would not be altogether worthwhile. So instead of buying all of these overly nice cushiony chairs with wheels, arm rests, and the whole bit, why don't we just get chairs like the ones in the cafeterias? Who's going to want to steal a plastic chair, or a wooden chair that doesn't have the "Mens et Manus" symbol on it? How much brainpower does it take to see that if nice chairs are bought, then they'll get stolen? And if people complain, tell them that they have the best computing facilities in the world, so they'd better be happy with that and just deal with it. Or, bring your own chair.

Now let's talk food. I'm not even going to go into how ridiculously expensive everything is, especially salad and bananas, which have got to be the most ridiculously easy things to prepare next to napkins, or how the management thinks that a 32-ounce soft drink was a better buy at $1.95 than 2 16-ounce soft drinks at $0.95 each (it really did happen).

No, let's talk hours, let's talk service. I don't know about you, but I don't have enough money to go out to eat every Friday night, so if I'm going to eat at Lobdell, they'd better have the same stuff they have every other weeknight. And on the weekends, why don't they keep Lobdell open for breakfast instead of paring down the selection as much as they do at Networks?

Do you do sports? Don't you hate how everything at Lobdell closes at 7 p.m? And who's going to wait in lines a mile long at Networks for food that inevitably gets stolen, is never made, or has its number bellowed (and I mean bellowed), incorrectly? How about some extended hours (say until 8) for people who can't make it there `cause of other obligations? We should have access to whatever food service we want rather than being at the mercy of business-as-usual food management and having to struggle to get our bites to eat.

Also, we need cereal in scoop-for-yourself canisters in Lobdell, not in those little wasteful boxes, which make it damn hard to find the three or four boxes of Froot Loops. I also don't like the feeling of danger I get when I reach for a box. I want canisters, and I want Cap'n Crunch and Apple Jacks and Cinnamon Toast Crunch, not 46 different varieties of All-Bran or All-Something-Natural-And-Therefore-Healthy Flakes.

I applaud the sincere enthusiasm, energy, and spirit of workers like Gerald the cashier, and the "Allegro Pasta Service Team" at Lobdell. I don't know about you, but their service and easy-going attitude makes my dining experience at Lobdell that much better. Keep it up dudes!

And how about the SCC Game Room? Are they going to lose any money by giving us four games for the dollar? Come on -- whenever I'm down there, I don't play games because I know that I'm getting ripped off. I bet if they gave us four plays a dollar, they'd have a heckuva lot more business AND happier players.

We could also use a recreation room somewhere in the center of campus with pool tables, air hockey, and foosball, don't you think? I'd like to be able to play billiards for a couple of dollars an hour in the midst of others. I don't care if there's no room for it anywhere - I know we could dig some up. Having one pool table per dorm just doesn't seem to cut it.

True, this Campus "Wish List" may not be as important as protecting campus boundaries ("Revelations from The Secret Files of MIT's Campus Police," Nov. 3), or putting more lights on the outskirts of this very vaguely defined area, but if I were in charge for a while, you now know what to expect.