Hayden’s Hopes: Big ideas for a big year

Published January 25, 2012 in the Davidsonian

This year is a big year for me, and for all my peers in the Class of 2012. Graduation—who’da thunk it? All the respect in the world to those of you out there who already know what you’re doing next year. Myself? I have no idea what comes after May. But for the purposes of this column, I’m going to pretend I’m not terrified. Instead, let’s take this blank slate as carte blanche to think big, to see the future as a better place that will come about only with bold thinking from all of us. In that vein, I’m going to throw out a couple big ideas for Davidson here. Like my plans for after-Davidson, they’re a bit hazy and sometimes idealistic. You have to start somewhere. Here are three ideas—look for more in the coming weeks, and write to me if you have an idea yourself!

Consider making the Honor Code a living document which must be written and ratified anew each year

The Honor Code is obviously one of Davidson’s distinguishing characteristics and a pillar of value upon which much of the College rests. Yet making the Honor Code a living document would fortify its relevance and strength. With a convention and referendum held each year, students would become more familiar with the document whose presence is so pervasive in our lives, and would moreover gain a degree of voice over its contents that is currently absent. Right now students have little to no avenue through which to air grievances over the structure (rather than application) of the Honor Code. A yearly convention would offer such an opportunity.

Invest in a machine to convert our waste oil (and the waste oil of local restaurants) into biodiesel which can be used in campus vehicles or machines or sold on the market in Charlotte

This would be really fairly easy, and could pay for itself given some time. Cocurricular possibilities abound, for economics, chemistry, and environmental studies, as has been the case at Dickinson College. The collection of waste oil to be converted to biodiesel could be facilitated by a work-study, and overseen by Physical Plant (probably not requiring the addition of a new staff member; the process is fairly simple, and other than the cost of perhaps consulting sessions at the beginning of the installation, costs could remain under $10,000 for the system itself). Current rate of return of investment on ASTM-grade biodiesel for colleges and universities is only 5-7 months, and is expected to accelerate as the price of diesel increases.

Have a Fall Lake Day

The balance of official party time has an odd tilt toward the spring, given Winterfest and Spring Frolics. Why not balance things out? Davidson has an amazing resource at its disposal in Lake Campus which it should continue to use to its best advantage. The establishment of a Fall Lake Day to celebrate this resource would boost collegial spirit and allow us to say farewell to the warm and swimmable months in fair fashion. The Lake Day would be a Friday off of class, announced spontaneously sometime in the fall (probably in September) by the President. The Union Board, Davidson Outdoors and others would coordinate activities to be held at Lake Campus, in a manner similar to Spring Frolics but less capital intensive. It could also be merged with SGA’s Fall Block Party.

 

Hayden Higgins ’12 is an anthropology major from Danville, CA. Contact him at hahiggins@davidson.edu

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