Over the past 40 years, various faculty members have been honored with plaques and memorials placed in various locations on campus. These memorials, originally erected to recognize and remember faculty for their significant contributions to the university community, have become areas of neglect, an unfortunate consequence of financial constraints.
Due to limited funding, the grounds maintenance department says they must make challenging decisions about where and how to allocate their resources. Although the department receives one million dollars annually for beautifying and maintaining the campus, this amount falls short of the cost of maintaining all areas of campus.
According to Ric Williams, the grounds maintenance manager and campus landscape architect, the department is responsible for maintaining approximately 360 acres of campus property and there are some areas that are given higher priority than others.
“We attempt to provide maintenance to all areas where possible, but our present staffing and resources compel us to put the majority of our efforts toward keeping [up] high visibility areas where students, staff and faculty frequent for outdoor use, like campus central corridors,” said Williams.
“The areas that would be considered ‘low priority,’ like areas where plaques and memorials are located, are only allowed routine maintenance,” he added.
Over time, weeds, cobwebs and layers of dirt and dust have managed to overpower the once thriving environments where the plaques and memorials can still be found.
According to the CSU Board of Trustee’s guidelines, proposals for plaques and memorials are based on the honoree’s service to their community, their professional achievements, or substantial financial contributions to CSUEB.
Dr. Anil Kumar Sarkar, a philosophy professor at CSUEB in 1965, was honored in the form of a commemorative plaque now located next to a picnic table outside of Meiklejohn Hall. Dr. Sarkar, who retired in 1979 and later passed away in 1991, was selected based on his influential books, blogs and research on global and social inequalities, which reflected his desire to “influence people to help save the human race,” as stated in his blog.
According to Williams, the grounds staff has made significant improvements to the campus over the past few years. At a time when CSU’s budget continues to fluctuate, Williams is encouraging students to look into working within the grounds maintenance department in order to help maintain the low priority areas.
“Our goals over the next few years will be to attempt to highlight many of the great views that we have on our campus, as well as develop certain areas that will take advantage of great views both within our campus and looking outward toward our surroundings,” said Williams.
This entry was published in The Pioneer Online on Thursday, September 27th, 2012 at 5:31 pm.