Letters to the editor


All we're asking for is a little respect

Remember that time when you had to read 200 pages before tomorrow?  Or when you had a huge Econ exam, and everyone was going out except you?  Where did you go?  Julian Atrium? No — too social.  The second floor of the library?  Quiet-ish, but not quite what you needed.  Perhaps the third floor of the library or Prevo Reading Room or Prevo Basement? Yes! Perfect! It's silent, nothing will distract you!

But wait… these study spaces have become the social epicenters of campus.  The unofficial noise rules have been disrespected all school year.  So what's a frantic studier to do?  Dig a cave under the library using compostable spoons with private swipe card access to ensure you have at last found a quiet study space? No, that's ridiculous. But some students have gotten close to scouring Archives to find DePauw's blueprints.

On Sunday, Student Government passed a White Paper to make the unofficial noise rules official. We set out expectations for some of the major study areas on campus and designated three areas as officially silent: third floor of the library, Prevo Reading Room, and Prevo Basement.

 Silent study areas exist for a reason.  Different students have different needs when it comes to a studying atmosphere.  Some students need background noise or social interactions.  But some of us need silence. Ensuring that there are spaces for all study needs is not a structural issue, it is a matter of respect amongst the student body. In a silent space, no talking means exactly that: no talking.  If you have a homework question for the person sitting next to you, ask it and move on. If this question will take more than one minute to ask or answer, take a study break and move to another area.  Silent spaces also expect eating to be kept to a minimum, cell phones on silent, and music in headphones at a volume so the person next to you can't sing along. 

If you need a little background noise to study, try the second floor of the library or the main room of Prevo. Here you can whisper for a few minutes, relax, enjoy a snack, or study next to a friend, so long as you're not swapping weekend gossip or working on group projects.

Need to meet with a group or need a lot of hustle and bustle to really zone in on your work?  There are plenty of spaces on campus that will suit your needs, you lucky social studier, you! The first floor of the library, Julian Atrium, the Hub, GCPA atrium, etc.  But please be respectful of your neighbors, and save that phone call to your mother until you're walking home. 

No one wants to be the noise police -- not students, not librarians, and there isn't room in Campus Crime to report on Public Safety interventions on library noise complaints.  So monitor yourself, respect your neighbors. And if you need to make some noise, get off the third floor. 

— Chelsey Jonason, senior, Sara Scully, sophomore, Mark Fadel, sophomore DePauw Student Senators


DePauw is "In great hands"

A powerful thing happens when you have the honor of hearing someone discuss their dreams, their vision and the winding road that often leads to them. You begin to understand their passions, their process, their hopes and their convictions that brought them both success and failure. Having had the privilege of having lunch with President Casey this week and discussing a multitude of things, I have an entirely new outlook on DePauw and the extent to which it is cared for.

Admittedly, as a senior, I've likely been one of the least "involved" students here on campus during my four years. However, while writing music, acting and starting my own real estate investing business, I have spent four years outside of my academic life relentlessly studying the fields of personal development, maximum achievement, thinking "beyond the impossible" and ultimately – seeing (and bringing) ones dreams to fruition.  In doing so, I know – "it"— in someone that truly has it. Brian Casey not only does in every way, but also relishes his opportunity to exercise these things here at DePauw.

I have never seen, met, read aboutand/or heard about an individual with as much desire—and as much enthusiasm—to improve a college campus and the lives within it. DePauw, and the very essence of "uncommon success" that it represents, cannot be better illustrated, nor defined more accurately, than by the professionalism of the man we have in charge. His "balancing act" in day-to-day endeavors, the genuine interest in every single life here, and his undeniable passion and discipline for campus-wide improvement, is nothing short of remarkable. Saying that he is a gift and blessing to DePauw is undoubtedly an understatement. Every person here is in great hands—and most importantly, the person holding you wouldn't trade it for the world.

 Thanks for all that you do—and try so hard to do—President Casey. And thanks again for the soup… Next bowl is on me.

— Brandon S. N. Butler, senior



Please be methodical, deliberate with grant funds

Monday's announcement that Greencastle received a multi-million dollar Stellar Communities grant was fantastic news for our town and our university. Though I will be graduating this year, I am very excited to come back and see how this and the DePauw 2020 program will have changed our community.

However, I believe we also ought to reflect about what this opportunity means for Indiana, Greencastle and DePauw. First of all, as exciting as the Stellar Communities program is, I was disappointed to learn that only two of Indiana's many eligible towns will be benefiting from it. Without more funding from the state, this program risks introducing new inequalities amongst rural towns in the name of revitalization.

I don't point this out to seem ungrateful, but simply as an observation that I hope our community leaders will reflect on when deciding how best to make use of the funds received. Will we prioritize the projects that would be most visible and marketable, or ones that will truly benefit the entire city of Greencastle? Focusing spending only on Greencastle's geographic centers, like the Downtown Square and the university, could pass over the many residents who don't live in those areas. 

We should focus on integrative improvements that will make connections throughout town rather than strengthen the center while ignoring the peripheries.

That being said, I have confidence in Sue Murray, Brian Casey and all those who have contributed to this process, to make thoughtful decisions about our future. I don't have the answers, but I am happy to be able to count on them as leaders. I'm proud of Greencastle and excited to see what this grant will allow us to do. As we have been fortunate enough to benefit from this program, let's set an example for other communities for what they might be able to do, whether they receive special funding or not.

— Matt Brauer, senior


Sharing Hesterberg's Sentiments: Another call for permanent sustainability position

With the assistant director for sustainability's full-time position up for review at the end of the year as mentioned in a recent column by Stephen Hesterberg, it is important to look back and reflect at the developments that Missy Orr's work has thrown into both our campus and Greencastle community. In both his recent articles "Maintaining Campus Environmental Staff" and "Environmental Service Commitment Needed to Improve Community," Hesterberg drove the nail home. Given the laudable environmental achievements that DePauw University has realized over the past years, we cannot afford to fall back on our sustainability commitment.

During the time that DePauw University has had a full-time sustainability position in the Office for Sustainability; DePauw won the first National Conservation Competition against 40 North American campuses with a 25.8 percent reduction in electricity. That same year we also became the seventh school in North America to submit its Sustainability Tracking and Rating System (STARS), revived our Greek Sustainability Roundtable (GSR) and approved the Climate Action Plan with the goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2040. It is also during this same year that the Greencastle Community Garden began through community-wide efforts.

These are proud and impressive achievements but in order to promote the continued success of DePauw Sustainability's efforts, I share the same sentiment that Harrison 229 needs a full-time sustainability position that continues to serve as a liaison between DePauw students, the Office for Sustainability and the Greencastle community and continues to foster a community that cares about making DePauw a better place.

— Henry Dambanemuya, sophomore


Sustainability will benefit DePauw in the long run

I write to express my agreement with Stephen Hesterberg's editorial, "Maintain campus environmental staff." In an age of peak oil and climate change, sustainability is not just a community value; it is a necessity. It is not just a way to save energy. In the long run, it is also a way to save money. Campus environmental staff are the key to DePauw reaching its goal of carbon neutrality. So too, in these times, more and more of our students are becoming interested in the environment and sustainability. Campus environmental staff are critical in providing leadership, direction and mentoring to students desiring to make a difference. Hence, a commitment by DePauw to the environment entails a commitment to environmental staff.

— Bruce Sanders, coordinator of cataloging and processing