You don’t have to be a football fan to go to Ole Miss, but when many of the campus buildings are closed during home games, it sure does feel like it.
The Turner Center, South Campus Recreation Center, the library and the honors college are all closed on home game days. I scoured the internet to find a reason why, but I couldn’t find one. Why would a large, public university close buildings that are integral to a student’s growth?
These facilities help students achieve academic success, so maybe they only do it to keep us safe. These are open buildings after all, so perhaps it would be safer to leave them closed while the campus is open to thousands of visitors.
However, we can all see the amount of extra security that we have on game days. There’s even a security guard whose main job is to direct people to the right exit door at the student union. Now, I’m sure this is merited and keeps us safe, but why not do this at other buildings as well? Does it cost too much? If paying a little more to keep these buildings guarded is what it takes, then I believe it is what the students deserve.
This isn’t just about giving students access to what is already ours. Ole Miss needs to realize the impact these facilities make. Having different places to work is proven to be better for your mind. When I’m stuck in my room doing homework with zero progress being made, I go somewhere else, and I’m not the only one.
Studies show that people are more productive when they change their surroundings. Some even call this phenomenon the “coffee shop effect.” The theory says that a coffee shop has better background noise than a silent room — or one filled with many friends. It keeps your brain stimulated in just the right way.
For you, maybe this coffee shop atmosphere is best resembled in the Great Room of the honors college or Starbucks in the J.D. Williams Library. When you leave your traditional work space with specific goals in mind, there’s intent behind it. Your sole purpose of going to this place is to work.
Productivity doesn’t have to revolve around getting schoolwork done. Working on yourself is just as important. Exercise has been shown to decrease levels of stress, and as a school that is greatly involved in sports, I’m a little surprised that Ole Miss closes its gyms on game days. Over half of adults in the United States say they experience daily stress and anxiety, but in a 2013 study, students who exercised at least three times per week reported better moods and less stress. They were more social, too. Exercise is proven to improve people’s lives, so let’s allow students to try it for themselves. In the Turner Center, there are even treadmills with desks attached for doing homework while working out.
Keeping these facilities closed is inconsiderate and inconvenient. Ole Miss, don’t give us the bare minimum. Don’t restrict our access to the resources we need to thrive because of a football game.
Emily Stewart is freshman international studies and Arabic major from Columbia, Tennessee.