Photo by Drue Sokol

Students have complained for far too long about the weather in Rochester. For too many years have they trudged through snow and sleet to get to class, only to realize their professors had sent them an email 10 minutes prior to their arrival saying it had been cancelled. Just seeing the sun is a rare treat for the students at UR, as it comes out about once every three months, if that.

During this winter break, the University is planning to start its biggest project yet — while students will be off campus, a dome will be constructed over it. The dome will cover all the residence halls and academic buildings, including the graduate schools.

This dome will clearly be the best of the recent additions to campus. Imagine waking up in a place where the weather is controlled. Most days will be “sunny” and in the 80s. Of course, it won’t actually be a real star shining. Creating another sun just for this dome would not only be impractical, but would also cost a lot of money which could be put toward greater needs on campus — like fancy dining halls with mediocre food.

Better yet, tunnels will never have to be used again and everyone can wear summer clothing throughout the year.

But what about all you rain lovers? The University plans on having “Rain Days,” during which it will rain for a full 24 hours. Snow lovers? Well, you have every right to move off campus.

Additionally, chances are good that the underclassmen will become so tired of perfect weather in their first two years that they’ll want to move off campus as upperclassmen, which will be especially helpful given the lack of guaranteed housing and over-enrollment of students every year. The administration plans on giving the students a variety of experiences when it comes to the weather, just like the city of Rochester does naturally.

The advantages of this dome go beyond just controlled weather, however. Security will become tighter, for instance — every entrance to the dome will be watched.

Also, it will finally make this University stand out, literally. UR gets attention for its beautiful architecture already (except maybe Hutchison Hall). But this dome will ensure that the advanced and futuristic UR will be noticed — in fact, it will be the first campus in this country, and perhaps world, to have a dome over its head.

This will most definitely attract the attention of U.S. News and World Report  when it does its annual college rankings. Innovative thinking, use of resources and the diversity of experiences given to students will probably push UR at least 10 spots up the ranking ladder, since those are clearly the most important factors which go into ranking anyway.

The dome should be completed by the time students come back in January, but if it is not, the construction will continue through the spring semester. There are certain issues that may arise, including the possibility of having only one side of the campus covered by half a dome. In addition, problems with functional weather controls may or may not cause accidental hurricanes or floods. However, the University is taking full precautions in terms of making this adjustment as smooth as possible for its students.

There is one piece of advice that will be given to students for the next semester, though: Bring heavy-duty umbrellas and shovels just in case.

Panda is a member of the class of 2014.




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