As we all know, UNH is lacking funds right now. New Hampshire is ranked 50th in state funding of higher education, and we are not even close to 49th. On top of that, the state legislature recently passed a new budget that will cut funding to the University System of New Hampshire, and specifically cut funding to UNH by 45 percent. That 45 percent translates to roughly $40 million (edit: should read about $30 million) in cuts for our university. Let's face it, that type of budget cut will not be good for UNH, especially at this time when so many of our buildings are deteriorating and the only sizeable donations are for a business school we probably don't even need.
Thinking about the budget cuts and the absurdity of past projects (such as the traffic circle) here at UNH got me thinking about some other renovations or campus additions that could benefit us as well. Aside from the obvious academic buildings such as Hamilton Smith and Nesmith (and every other academic building on campus that predates World War II), I came up with a few wishful (but highly unrealistic) renovations. This is a college, who needs nice classrooms?
While these ideas are not in any particular order, I think the top of my list would be Cowell Stadium. President Huddleston has mentioned it before and if you know anything about football you'll know that our stadium is among the worst in the FCS (Division IAA). A nice new stadium, one that does not even have to be much bigger, would attract more fans and even help with recruiting. If you're a player deciding between two similar schools, a nice fan base is a definite bonus. UNH hockey players often say that they love the environment of the Whitt; I'd love to see our football team say similar things.
I think one of the biggest disappointments of our campus is that huge concrete deck hanging off the back of the MUB. One thing UNH lacks is a nice outdoor studying or eating area. I'm not really sure what to call that area, but it seems like it had so much potential and it just fell flat. Even when the weather is nice I rarely see students out there. You know what, maybe we could even have a campus bar out there. Some larger schools such as the University of Wisconsin have bars right in their student centers, but wait, that would be fun. UNH doesn't approve of fun (unless you count President Huddleston tweeting his fake counterpart - pure gold). While a bar might be a bit of a stretch, one semi-feasible option would be have an outdoor area at one of the dining halls. Knock down the back window-wall at Philbrook, put up a little fence and add a few picnic tables and students would have a great shaded area to eat during the nicer months of the year.
Those of you who live in The Gables will definitely be able to relate to these next few. A small dining hall in the Gables area would be amazing. You have no idea how annoying it is to walk all the way to HoCo on the weekends. You know what? Just throw up a McDonald's right in the courtyard and we'll call it even. American stereotypes are fun! Lazy. A more serious option for the Gables area would be to clear out the wooded area between the buildings and create a nice quad area like the grass in front of the Mills. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for the trees and being green, but a nice field of grass for sports and sunbathing would be perfect for that area.
Lastly, and this is probably my most serious one, let's just demolish Stoke. Let's just blow it up and pretend that building never happened. It would provide instant beautification of our campus and also cut down on 95 percent of the false fire alarms. I think the Durham Fire Department would appreciate it very much.
When it comes to making necessary renovations and campus projects, it is extremely important to make priorities, especially when funds are low. The UNH campus is deteriorating faster than we can raise money, which is causing higher tuition. Alumni funds are lacking and the outlook is not good. Now excuse me, I need to go protect myself from all the hate business students are about to send my way.
Stay classy, not UMassy.