Julianne Biggs

Day after day, students walk to class in sunshine, wind or rain. It doesn’t matter if a student has a 20-minute walk uphill or if they have a short amount of time between classes, they are expected to arrive on time and ready to learn. Therefore, students map out their routes and plan how to get to class on time. However, during heavy downpours and torrential rains, pathways to classes may be inaccessible due to the poor drainage system on campus; a common student experience is the flooding of the tunnels.

The drainage system of NC State's main campus is a major area of concern for the University, and with the reevaluation of the campus and the announcement of a new 10-year plan, this issue is more important than ever.

When students walk through the Brickyard on days with heavy rain to grab lunch at Atrium, study at D.H. Hill or attend classes there are pools and streams of water everywhere and have no way to avoid getting completely drenched. After attempting to maneuver through the water and still getting our shoes soaked, we then have to go inside soaking wet where we will listen to hour-long lectures, participate in labs, or awkwardly squeak our way to a seat in the library. This is an experience no student wants to have, but it is currently unavoidable. 

“Walking to class in the rain is very inconvenient,” said Krista Jackson, a fourth-year studying biology. “I’ve even seen students trying to dry out their shoes in class.”

Jackson also explained the effects an improved drainage system would have on public transit. 

“When it rains buses are completely packed,” Jackson said. “I think students would be more likely to walk if the drainage system was fixed.” 

Wolfpack 2030 seeks to find areas of NC State’s campus that could be improved and other areas that could be built upon. On Sept. 10, students received an email about a survey regarding their experience at NC State. This survey functions to assist the administration in finding the structural problems on campus that students regard as a high priority, which will be used to formulate the new physical master plan. 

If you have not taken or completed the survey, I challenge you to list your concerns and the problems you see on campus. While my main focus for this column was the drainage issue, there are numerous other small things that could be affecting students, like lack of decent bathrooms in certain buildings or even concerns regarding how the University is handling the pandemic.

I also encourage students to bring up their concerns directly with NC State’s Office of Finance and Administration. This is the office responsible for managing business operations across the University and oversees numerous operations like NC State’s budget, transportation, physical facilities, construction and renovation projects, among others. In short, it is in charge of all sorts of administrative issues affecting students, so it is worthwhile to contact them. In fact, it has a “Submit an Idea” option on their website, which students can easily fill out to let NC State know about any ideas for improvements they may have.

No matter what your concern is, no matter how small it may seem, it is still important to bring it up so NC State can start planning to improve that issue as it works on its plan for the next 10 years. Students' voices deserve to be heard, so I encourage you to take advantage of these opportunities and let the University know of any concerns you may have.