Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ithaca College has largely limited its hours of operations for many different services. The operating hours of the dining halls, the retail dining services, the campus store and the library are just some examples of adjusted service hours; this is causing a massive amount of dissatisfaction among the student body. As an institution with the purpose of providing a nurturing environment to help cultivate the success of its students, providing study spaces is a top priority that has been neglected and students are dealing with the consequences.
In 2019, the library was open 24/5. That’s 24 hours a day, five days a week. This provided a space for students with a heavy workload to do their work in a peaceful environment. The concept of pulling an all-nighter is no stranger to most college students, and while it’s not always a fun experience, sometimes it’s necessary. This semester the library is only open until midnight most days, occasionally until 2 a.m., but sometimes it even closes as early as 5 or 8 p.m.! These hours aren’t sufficient or consistent enough for students to be able to finish their assigned work in a quiet space where they can focus.
Some students don’t have the option to study in their room. Considering that a large number of students on campus have roommates, it’s important to understand that someone’s room is not necessarily a private space. As the senator for the School of Humanities and Sciences, I can say that there have been many students who have come to the Student Governance Council (SGC) with this issue. One of the most common problems is if a roommate is inconsiderate when it comes to maintaining a quiet study environment, or, on the opposite end of the spectrum, if someone’s roommate goes to bed early and needs the lights in the room to be off, these are both scenarios that would make studying in someone’s room impossible. Even when studying and doing work within a dorm is a viable option for some, students deserve the ability to separate out a productive work space from a place of rest and free time. When the separation of school and personal life is not an option, it can quickly become a distracting environment resulting in increased procrastination and more difficulty completing assignments.
It’s true that lounges are provided which could be used as a study space for some, but they are also offered as a place for peers to connect and hangout. Some students can’t utilize their dorm lounges for academic purposes, either due to fellow students disrespecting quiet hours, generally being loud and disruptive, or using the space to engage in group social activities. Students who are put in these situations where their own rooms and the lounges are not an option are left with nowhere to focus on their work, which can massively impact performance in classes.
Every student at the college is paying to attend this institution, and every student wants to excel, but students can’t be expected to succeed and do their best work if they aren’t even offered a quiet place to get their work done. Having personally gone through adjusting to these hours and having felt the impacts of the limited hours, I am eager to address this issue. As a Senator of SGC, I am drafting a Bill recommending that the school take action to keep the library open later to provide students with the necessary resources to not only survive but thrive throughout their college experience. At this point we are still in the research phase of this process. Keeping the library open later is essential for the success of the student body and as a part of the SGC I am making this issue a top priority.