The College needs to reconstruct its campus building priorities

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October 25, 2010

11:49 PM

Looking around at our evolving campus, I am excited by all the new, or redesigned, state-of-the-art buildings: Alan B. Miller Hall, Small Hall and the School of Education. The new Sherman and Gloria H. Cohen Career Center, however, is not quite as exciting to me. In fact, I’m a little upset at the amount of money being spent on it, and there is one crucial reason why: While we are upgrading the physical location of the Career Center, the people that staff it are the same as are their procedures. Most people would be quick to say that, contrary to my statement, the faculty of the Career Center are — like all College of William and Mary faculty — superb individuals. In my experience, they are anything but helpful.

Last year, I scheduled an appointment with a Career Center advisor to help me find an internship. I entered his office to find a slightly absent-minded individual who was no more energetic or enthusiastic than a rock. His desk was covered in doodles written on sticky notes, and despite this and his apparent lethargy, I set this aside and sincerely tried to get the most I could out of the experience. Unfortunately, the “best” advice this advisor had to offer was to take a gander at the Yellow Pages and call up different businesses — but that’s really neither advice nor guidance. That’s just telling people to do it themselves, and that’s precisely what I did: I got an internship by myself, through my own research and diligence. So, why is it necessary to pay someone a full salary with health benefits to tell people to do things on their own?

Instead, I suggest this: We maintain our online Career Center resources and make one unused classroom the Career Center; then, instead of hiring any people to work there, we just provide a catalogue of Yellow Pages for in-room use, as well as a large sign that reads “Do It Yourself.” With the leftover money, we could make a beautiful parking garage on top of the William and Mary Hall Parking Lot. The additional student vehicles would allow students the mobility to more regularly go off campus, which would in turn support the Williamsburg community.

If the school, however, were to replace the current faculty of the Career Center with helpful and motivated professionals who never refer students to the Yellow Pages and instead work hard to form personal connections with major companies in a variety of fields so that they can, in turn, refer undergraduate students to available opportunities, then the funds being allocated toward a new Career Center would be much more appropriate. What the school is doing now, however, is equivalent to making a Lamborghini without an engine. I implore the school to put effort into living up to its reputation of fine faculty, even outside of the classroom.

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