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Wang: Don’t be afraid to voice complaints about small problems

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Wang: Don’t be afraid to voice complaints about small problems

Michael Wang, Columnist

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In a world of complex problems that are nearly impossible to solve, it’s pretty easy to feel overwhelmed and underqualified to find an answer. The reason for that is because you probably are. That’s why I like to write about the small, easily fixable problems in life. These are the issues that are small enough to be ignored because nobody complains enough about them, yet are large enough to be an annoyance.

In my time here, I have noticed a few of these problems, and I’d like to dedicate this column to complaining. Unfortunately, as someone who spends most of his time in the engineering buildings on North Campus, my complaints are almost exclusively centered there. Sorry.

First off, something needs to be done about the state of the bathrooms in Technological Institute. Simply walking into all but the most well hidden restrooms is asking for an assault of unpleasant smells. Although it’s true that Tech is a huge building with many visitors, that doesn’t make it any more acceptable. The problem seems to be that the restrooms are not cleaned frequently enough. Only once in my time here have I stepped into one of Tech’s more well-used restrooms to not find it reeking of urine.

Why should we care? For one, it’s gross. Secondly, it makes us look bad. Some of the worst bathrooms in Tech are also right next to both Ryan Auditorium and the building’s various lecture rooms. Many people, often professors or esteemed speakers, give talks here. Imagine if they realized upon entering the restrooms on either side of Ryan Auditorium that drinking two bottles of water before their talk was the second worst mistake they made that day. The first, of course, attempting to brave those bathrooms. What does it say about the people who run this University if they can’t even keep our bathrooms from turning into cesspools of filth?

The state of these bathrooms is not something that is easily forgotten, and it is an overwhelmingly negative experience. The solution is simple: Clean the bathroom more often and install air fresheners. Only once have I had the pleasure of walking into one of the bathrooms expecting the usual foul odors, only to be graced with the smell of bleach. And the fact that bleach smells good in comparison should indicate that this is an issue.

Onto my next complaint: There are not nearly enough bike racks outside of the Ford Motor Company Engineering Design Center. Every afternoon when I walk past the building, I see two incredibly full bike racks and a mess of bikes, often with only their wheels locked to their own frames, right outside the doorway. This makes the bikes more susceptible to theft, because even when they’re locked, some tricky thief can carry them away, something that actually happened to my friend. Another problem with stacking the bikes is that they pile up against each other, which leads to a frustrating and potentially unsafe situation for anyone who wants to retrieve their bike. The solution to this is fairly simple: Buy and install another bike rack! The space for one is there, and it ought to be used.

My final complaint is that Tech Express is too cramped. When Associated Student Government elections were still a thing, David Harris and Jo Lee came to my dorm and proposed, with my and my dorm mates’ approval, that Tech Express be expanded. Although I still feel this is a good idea for the long term, I am uncertain of its feasibility. Could there be a simpler solution? Yes! Because of the long gap area between tables in Tech Express, if two tables were stacked side by side, we could greatly increase the capacity of Tech Express without affecting traffic space. All we would need to do is put in more tables.

In conclusion, my point is that if you look carefully enough, there are little problems everywhere that most people either don’t notice or don’t care to notice. Complain about them! Let someone know that the way things are is not okay. It’s the only way people will notice.

Michael Wang is a McCormick freshman. He can be reached at michaelwang2016@u.northwestern.edu. If you want to respond publicly to this column, send a Letter to the Editor to opinion@dailynorthwestern.com.

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