Soft Sciences Seek a Home

With the first full week of classes under their belts, many students at the University of San Diego already have their route across campus to their various classes memorized.

Throughout the day, many students will hit a few buildings while heading between classes for their major and various core courses. Some majors might even experience a bit of déjà vu as they shuffle from class to class down the exact same hallways.

These majors are likely to have buildings on campus specific to their craft, including Loma Hall for engineering, Olin Hall for business, and Shiley for science. While these majors experience life in their specialized buildings, the majority of arts and sciences majors seem to couchsurf around campus.

Sure, you can find small clusters of common departmental offices, or a bulletin board with departmental announcements within certain buildings. However, for the most part, the soft sciences majors are without a central hub for their major on campus.

Students in these majors spend the majority of their school days hiking across campus to get to their classrooms, which are largely rooms other majors have to spare in their buildings. Although the change of pace can be nice, at times having things scattered throughout so much of campus can be hectic.

Senior Val Estrada, an engineering student, commented on how convenient it can be having everything for her major under one roof.

“It’s great to have our own building because, any time I have a question about my homework, I know I can always find someone in our Ideation Space [study space] to get some help,” Estrada said.

This accessibility and sense of community is something many majors could benefit from. Of course, it’s not realistic to expect every major to get its own dedicated building. For some of the larger majors, including psychology, communication studies, and sociology, who have hundreds of students in their programs, it seems reasonable to create a few specialized areas for these majors to congregate.

Junior Lindsay Fitzpatrick noted that engineering, business, and hard sciences majors all have the benefit of central buildings and lounges, an advantage she said that other majors would appreciate as well.

“I think it would be helpful if we had a main building where most of our classes were [held] instead of being scattered all over campus,” Fitzpatrick said. “Having a lounge would be nice to meet people in the same or similar majors. It would be convenient for day to day purposes and also for potential future networking opportunities.”

The business and engineering departments have the distinction of being their own schools, which may be the cause for them having special spaces. At the same time, the College of Arts and Sciences as a whole is lacking a community space. It deserves to be considered too.

Perhaps the next time the university takes on a construction project, an area for arts and sciences majors can be included in the design plans. For the time being, the best place for soft science majors to find each other around campus is passing on the sidewalks on the run between classes.

Written by Dani DeVries, Opinion Editor