The More Things Change..

by Khalil Ayvar | 5/21/03 5:00am

(Editor's Note: This piece is a work of speculative fiction about what Dartmouth may b like ten years from now.)

BLINK BLINK. Another blitz from Uh-Oh, reminding me that I need to choose my courses for the fall. I follow the provided blue link to the online prospectus, to start skimming.

One of the graduating '13s I met this year was telling a few of us '16s how the prospectus and ORC had been printed for each student when he had first come to campus. I couldn't help but shudder at the waste of paper.

The registrar still prints a few books for whoever would prefer hard copy, but I've seen the ORC and can only imagine printing out five thousand copies of that enormous tome.

The current SA president is also an ECO-Rep and had worked with the College to reduce paper waste tremendously. Pretty much the only things not online now are forms or cards that require signatures. Heck, even DDS tried to start up online ordering once again, but that barely made it a term before it was dropped as another flop.

The registrar's site loads up immediately, with no delay. I'll really miss the new fiber optics network the campus finally set up, when it's my turn to graduate. I'm really getting used to the lightning fast servers that allow me to download an entire textbook in about three seconds. That's a pretty neat concept, too, though I don't think it will catch on.

Readers are now scanned into document files and dispersed by the professors via blitz for free, but many students complain that they'd rather read paper than a computer screen, absolutely swamping GreenPrint for the first few weeks of every term.

Every print station in every dorm winds up printing nonstop, even in the wee hours when night owls try to beat the daytime crush.

Most of the professors don't like scanning either, whether on principle or because they have trouble with the errors inherent in the process, so this new experiment will probably go the way of the dodo by the end of next year.

Once I finish my class selections, I sign off blitz -- version 2.8 now, for Windows of course -- and fold up my computer. I put it back in my bag, and brush the loose bits of grass off my jeans when I stand up.

The Green is usually too crowded at this time of year, and the grassy lot by the River Apartments is much easier to work on.

Apparently there used to be some temporary houses on this spot, but they finally got rid of them several years ago.

The new grad dorms down here are also supposed to be on the site of the old River dorms, which they finally tore down when they built McCawdor Hall, commonly referred to as "The Megadorm," due to its sheer enormity. 500 beds and its own dining hall, though nobody really eats there except the residents since it's so far from the rest of campus.

DDS must be losing money on the new place -- the Big Green Bean -- but it more than makes up for it in the thousand a term it charges for the standard meal plan. The food is still good, though.

The whole "Megacomplex" is behind Dick's House, which is in the process of getting completely revamped.

Last year, all us prospectives got treated to news of a new meningitis strain breaking out on campus, partially due to the old establishment's incompetence.

The danger the campus was put under because of a series of mistreatments and incorrect diagnoses was enough to convince the trustees to have the place taken over by the DHMC. It seemed rather silly that one of New England's premier hospitals could coexist with such a disreputable health service.

I swing by my room in the Choates -- still here! This is one architectural anomaly that should have been wrecked long ago -- before going to the speech in Collis Commonground for graduating seniors.

It sounded interesting, so I decided to go meet up with some of my friends to check it out.

It's about all the online career opportunities there are out there, for graduates of all fields.

E-business are finally running reliably under their own steam, after the Babel encryption developed in 2008 that allowed unprecedented security and privacy on the web. My uncle is actually making a good living working from home, and I'd like to do the same if I find something of interest.

Walking into Collis, the heat washes over me, immediately making my skin prickle.

Sometimes I think the trustees must think it's some sort of tradition to forbid air conditioning to most of the buildings on campus that could really use it. To remind us of Dartmouth's primitive beginnings, perhaps.

The hammering in my head, though, is not due to the heat. I glance down the stairway to see them working yet again on the small space next to the pool hall. I don't even know what it's being transformed into now.

It was a fluorescent-painted black-lighted retro club named The Underground when I first came in the fall, but it seems there are more people in it now, overalls and hard hats and all, than there ever were then on a given Saturday night.

Construction never seems to cease at Dartmouth. "The words of learning in our hallowed halls may stand the test of time, but the halls themselves certainly don't," some graduating senior had joked at commencement nearly a decade ago. Well, I just hope we can hear the words over the hammers.

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