A call to action: Colby should put giant dome over campus

Well, it’s official. In a time where all it takes is an uninformed opinion to guide others, the masses have already given in to scare-tactic journalism, effectively undermining the few of us who retain our journalistic integrity. Either way, the loud majority is correct, and it’s definitely time to panic. COVID-19 is here, and there have been no immediate plans to prevent a large-scale outbreak on campus – until now.

Think about it: during these cold months of Maine winter, what are the two most frequently asked questions? The first goes something along the lines of “it’s so cold, can we turn the heat up?” and the second follows closely: “I’m too young to die, can I avoid contracting a potentially deadly disease?” Perhaps the question that should really be asked is: how can we solve both of these complaints at the same time? Fortunately, this last question actually has a good answer. It comes in the form of a giant glass dome, to be placed over Colby’s 714 acre campus and sealed airtight. This dome, or, if you prefer, utter godsend, would provide both climate controlled temperatures inside, and protection from the dangerous COVID-19 outside. 

COVID-19 has spread a wintery mix of information and misinformation almost as virally as its own contamination. Any sailor worth their salt has seen viruses spread like wildfire before. But never before have they weathered this perfect storm of shenanigans, subterfuge, and skullduggery on such a sickening scale. It seems that nearly everyone has something to say about this potential pandemic. Invariably, while these motormouths blather on ad nauseum in their vacuum chamber, it is left to the free press to point the eyes of the nation in the proper direction. Well, open up your proverbial yappers, dear readers, because here comes a heaping spoonful of loosely fact-based opinion.

All it takes is one infected carrier to set off a tsunami wave of contagion. We here on Mayflower Hill live in particularly close quarters on a veritable petri dish of pestilence. To illustrate this point, consider a sprawling 200 square foot dorm room, found (although not as commonly as one may wish) throughout the campus residence halls. Per CDC suggestions, for students to maintain a six-foot radius from each other, a maximum of four students would be able to be in the room at any given time. This is difficult.

Sadly, the administration at the College – who haven’t taken any stances in the recent past, and haven’t taken a good one in even longer – extend their streak of passivity with their recent response to COVID-19. In an email sent out to students, members of the administration wrote that although they are not aware of any cases of COVID-19 at Colby or in the state of Maine, their “primary priorities are the health and wellbeing of our community and doing all [they] can to ensure that our students, faculty, and staff remain safe as this public health situation continues to evolve.”

Granted, the College has been implementing some common procedures for avoiding sickness, such as washing hands regularly, avoiding contact, and covering coughs. But what the College fails to realize is that these measures fall far short of dependably securing the health and wellbeing of each and every Colby student.

Although the author candidly recognizes his own ongoing profit from sensationalism and its exploits, he maintains that these actions are far too small-ball. Colby College President David Greene and his team of rec-leaguers are misguidedly committing a grave disservice to their students. The administration, and other so-called “anti-domers,” weakly point to its countless flaws as reason enough not to go forward with dome-based plans. Namely, the notion of dropping a giant glass dome on top of such a large area of land has been declared “an utterly and completely bone-headed idea” by one of the countless followers of the author’s writings, who preferred to remain anonymous. However, some admirers chose to be more forward with their opinions. Zachary Bergman `21 put his frustration with the dome plan into words.

“This isn’t a Simpsons movie. There are so many reasons this is a bad idea. A lot of students and nearly all of the faculty and staff live off campus.”

Bergman, whose hobbies include stretching the truth, droned on to say, “and we’d have to let them in and out, which would make the whole thing pointless.”

Of course, one’s natural reaction to this deplorable opinion is indeed correct – we ought to look around for which village is missing their idiot. Perhaps out of consideration of impartiality, Bergman did end up conceding that it “would be cool to see…the dome though.” Even strong proponents of the plan identify some of its flaws. Before an interview with the Echo, Charlie Allen `21 pointed to some of his qualms.

“Because I can’t go to Walmart then that would be bad [sic],” Allen said unprompted. 

Allen, a notorious errand-runner, would know about the inclination Colby students have to travel off campus. Indeed, he boasts the current school record for highest number of roommate transfers in one year. Anyway, regardless of the wide array of opinions about the dome, we can all agree that it is a good idea. Until next time, reader – that is, if luck allows us to make that far.

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