Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Is the Slough worth the price?

On November 22nd, 2017, a schoolwide email was sent regarding work being done on Augustana’s Slough. The email regarded this work as an effort to “help preserve the structure of the slough for future generations of Augustana students.” This new work being done followed an earlier message from the school on November 8th, where the school increased tuition per term by $495.00. One must wonder now if the work being done on the slough is a beneficial and quality use of the student paid funds.
According to both Deseret News and, Augustana is number 24 out of 35 and 24 out of 50 of the most beautiful college campuses in the United States. That’s a large accomplishment considering the caliber and locations of other campuses in the country. As a local, I don’t see this area as inherently beautiful anymore. Yet, I can see the appeal via our architecture and humble landscape. Undoubtedly, a small body of water going through the middle of our campus adds to the beauty that pushes us in the rankings. These higher rankings also must increase our value as a liberal arts college. So theoretically, this bump in interest through media sites listed above and national knowledge of our campus should make any work being done to preserve this landscape worth the price. Despite my personal belief of the area not catching my attention, I believe the slough certainly positively adds to both the value and the beauty of this campus.
Despite our national recognition of beauty, the slough is also used for academic purposes as well. The biology department on campus uses the water for projects to view nature in progress. The inhabitants of the slough are used for biology projects yearly and loss of this precious resource could seriously damage academic resources that are used for bringing in new students.
Yet, the downsides to spending large sums of money on this piece of nature prevents us from using those same funds to improve other sites on campus. The freshman residence hall known as Seminary has had large insect infestation issues since the beginning of the year and also in prior years. Secondarily, the class of 2021 had one of the largest student sizes. With this large influx of students, many sophomore students were moved into on campus housing and apartments rather than Erickson and other dorms. Freshmen then were packed into rarely used dorms and rooms meant for singles.
Should these funds be used to improve older dorms like Seminary and Andreen? Both these dorms don’t have air conditioning or elevators for the hot summer nights, but students living there still have to pay the high board price that Westerlin residents do, though they have these amenities. Shouldn’t the school seek to improve living for their students before they worry about how the school looks to outsiders?
Personally, I believe the slough work should be postponed in lieu of fixing the current issues with the school. Although the school does not have many outstanding problems, the current ones present issues to residents and solutions could prove more beneficial to the longstanding of the school than improving our natural background.

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Is the Slough worth the price?