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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Saturday, June 15, 2024

Editorial: Tufts’ summer glow up

The Editorial Board proposes several random improvements to Tufts’ Medford/Somerville campus.

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With the surplus of time on our hands during final exams, the Daily’s Editorial Board sat down to dream up a list of small changes that could upgrade the Medford/Somerville campus. From facilities to dining to technology, these improvements seek to improve various aspects of student life.

As college students, a significant portion of our daily lives revolves around schoolwork. Whether studying for an exam, completing classwork or working on a group project, we need adequate facilities to support our academic endeavors. Tufts boasts an impressive number of gathering spaces on the Medford/Somerville campus, including three libraries, the Mayer Campus Center and a myriad of academic buildings where students can study. However, all of these spaces would benefit from an increase in alternative seating options such as yoga ball chairs, wobble stools, bean bags and rocking chairs. Tisch Library already has a sensory room available to reserve; an expansion of this initiative to more library spaces would be beneficial.

Since its 2017 opening, the Science and Engineering Complex has been a fan-favorite study spot. The building’s popularity among students is unfortunately also the space’s shortcoming as finding a good table is difficult. The plethora of round tables in the SEC Atrium, while occasionally useful for group projects, often leads to the one person taking up a table meant for many, even when the building is packed. The addition of more two-person tables could remedy this problem.

Imagine you finally do find a table in the SEC or Campus Center, only to find your laptop is nearly out of battery. The odds of your table being near a power outlet are slim to none, and you would have to relocate. The SEC and Campus Center desperately need more working outlets. Also, adding window shades downstairs in the Campus Center would reduce glare on computer screens and lower the temperature when the sun is shining. We further support the Tufts Community Union Senate initiative to extend late-night study hours in the Joyce Cummings Center.

Although Tufts Dining seems to be an endless source of student complaints, it truly is not that bad. However, it could be even better! Firstly, Kindlevan Café should bring back the old sandwiches, such as the beloved apple brie and caprese. The new Kindlevan paninis are too soggy, likely because they are wrapped in foil and rely on very thin slices of bread to protect against moisture. Tufts Dining could also start serving oat milk in Kindlevan, as it is now the second most popular plant-based milk in the U.S. behind almond. Apart from Kindlevan, Hodgdon Food-on-the-Run should stop giving receipts. The receipts do nothing but accumulate in the Hodge trash can and are simply a waste of paper and ink.

Tufts needs more community fridges, like the one behind Dewick-MacPhie Dining Hall. It seems reasonable that each dining location could have a community fridge, which would help students responsibly give away food they don’t need and work to address food insecurity in Medford/Somerville.

As you trek around campus, you may find yourself taking dirt paths where repeated footsteps have worn down a ghost of a trail in the grass, called “desire paths” — or more fittingly at Tufts, “elephant paths.” Tufts should pave the shortcut behind Latin Way on the walk to Davis Square and install stairs on the hillside down to The Court at Professors Row.

The College Avenue/Boston Avenue intersection is one of the most congested spots between class blocks, especially in front of the Memorial Steps. It’s like a highway feeding into a two-lane road. Waiting for the walk signal as floods of computer science and economics students pour out of the JCC means balancing precariously on the curb as vehicles speed by. For pedestrian safety, the sidewalk in front of the Memorial Steps should be widened.

Students should be able to load MBTA fares onto Tufts ID cards. Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology ID holders can tap into the T without carrying around a separate Charlie Card. Given that many Tufts students commute to the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and downtown Boston campus via the new Green Line station, this feature would see widespread use.

In addition to physical ID cards, Tufts should have digital IDs to swipe into dining halls and dorms. While it’s easy to lose a card, students rarely leave the room without their phones. Northeastern University and MIT have their own mobile ID apps, and universities across the nation are moving to add digital credentials.

While none of these changes make or break the Tufts experience — as graduating seniors can attest to surviving without them — the Editorial Board hopes to spark interest in implementing these touch-ups.