Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
Yesterday afternoon, in Parrish 225 West, members of the President’s Office Greg Brown, Liz Braun, and Nancy Nicely held a press briefing to discuss the Visioning Final Report. President Valerie Smith is said to make an announcement regarding the Final Report today.
The Visioning Project is, in brief, an effort to improve the student experience at Swarthmore College through five main strategies: space, service, communication, policy, and programs.
“These strategies lay the groundwork for future development and planning efforts with the involvement of the Swarthmore Community,” some pages of the Final Report, provided to press at the briefing, read.
Greg Brown, Vice President for Finance and Administration, and Liz Braun, Dean of Students, both emphasized that much of The Visioning Project involves testing “prototypes” that will then be further expanded on. They cited short-term changes that have already been made, such as the renovation of Essie Mae’s and Mephisto’s lounge, as examples.
Braun referred to these small-scale prototypes as “quick fixes.”
Brown mentioned a plan to add more flat-screen monitors around campus that would display information to the student body.
“It’s stuff like that, which we can test in small-scale and then expand,” Brown said.
“When we do make the big construction projects, we do them in a way that helps us to be flexible,” Braun said.
Some of these potential “big construction projects” include a community gathering space that accommodates large (campus-wide) and small events. The report intentionally refrains from referring to the space as a “student center,” as Braun explained that it is not clear if that will be the exact form that this takes.
Sharples and the current state of student dining also came up.
“Our dining hall is too small for our student body,” Braun conceded. Brown cited a potential new dining hall as one of the “big construction projects” that might happen in the long-term.
“If that were something that we ended up deciding we had to do,” Brown said.
The college may implement “short-term” solutions, such as furniture changes and flat-screen monitors, as early as next fall, and “long-term” projects should occur anywhere from three to five years in the future, according to Dean Braun. Brown agreed with these estimates.
When discussing strategies to increase student access to Philadelphia, Brown mentioned some slow but developing changes in SEPTA ticketing.
“They happen to be buying the software that is compatible with the OneCard,” said Brown. He made sure to clarify that he cannot promise anything with regards to that information.
Brown noted that the Visioning Final Report is intended for all community members, including students, faculty, staff, and alumni. It will be available online later today.
Featured image depicts a James Bond villain presenting his evil plot. Photo courtesy of MGM.