Physical spaces/ architecture
Earth, Respect, Joy – Parsons and The New School have made a large commitment to sustainable business and building practices. This includes sustainable development within their physical facilities. The Parsons building is open and allows natural light to filter through, allowing optimal concentration for students and providing a pleasing scene within the class. The school also makes a consistent effort to promote sustainable and ethical decisions, and has taken the initiative to divest in fossil fuel companies. The physical space of the Parsons building is large enough for students to move about freely, work, walk, and converse in groups as they please. There are multiple rooms that students can rent out for school or individual projects, and the making center is a places where students can enjoy the school’s tools and community insight.
Health, Body, Suffering, Vulnerability, Pleasure, Compassion, Integrity – The physical space and architecture of Parsons at 2 W 13 does not particularly support the following values. While it is spacious, the elevators are narrow and hardly work. This means that, more often than not, students must opt to take the trip of going up several flights of steep stairs. Stairs are all the same color, and I have fallen down them several times while rushing to get to class with a heavy backpack or portfolio. The values of vulnerability, pleasure, compassion, and integrity are rather abstract, and therefore, I understand why it would be difficult to embody them within an architectural space.
If I were to change anything about the architecture of Parsons in order to embody more of my values, I would make the elevators larger and wheel-chair accessible. I would also find a way to ensure that they would not malfunction as often as they do, especially during rush hours. In addition to this, I would paint every third stair red or a color that can stand out so students walking down the stairs will know how far up or down the stairs they are going down. This will make it harder for students to get tripped up.
Body, Health, Suffering, Vulnerability, Earth, Respect, Compassion, Integrity – I do not feel that these personal values are reflected within New York City. At the same time, think it is up to make to ensure that these personal values are being met on my own account. It is my responsibility to discover how to take care of the earth in an urban ecosystem, how to preserve my integrity in a city where people are testing it, and how to have compassion when there is little consequence for losing it. New York City is a dirty city. It is cramped, and unsanitary. Most people are not kind and are fairly self-interested. In a place where a small-town sense of community is not particularly organic, it is up to me to cultivate kindness.
Joy, Pleasure – New York City is, undoubtably, a beautiful city. It is full of art and opportunity. For this reason, I am able to find an unlimited source for joy. I am constantly met with new moments for growth and discovery. This has brought me immense pleasure. I sincerely think that I would not be able to have as many options for activities as I would anywhere else in the United States. I am lucky to both live and study there. Because of this, my values are met.
If I were to change anything, and to wave a magic wand, I would change where I live. As of right now, I live in Stuyvesant Town. I don’t quite like the young energy of down town and have always felt more comfortable in the company of older people. They are grouchy and smell like roses. Something about their musk and old money makes me feel at home. I would feel much more at peace and taken care of if I were uptown, closer to doctors offices, book clubs, and public libraries. I love the urban residential atmosphere.
Body, Health, Earth, Joy, Respect, Vulnerability – I am fortunate to attend a university that expresses my values within its core curriculum. Parsons offers an extensive offering of courses related to environmental science, sustainability, business ethics, body positivity, mindfulness, and a plethora of other options. In addition to this, teachers emphasize vulnerability, and allow space for students to be open, emotional, and experimental in their approach to certain assignments.
This is not without its downsides. I feel that oftentimes, students, and even professors, get so wrapped up in their personal emotions, morals, and values that they can lose sight of the logic in the argument they are trying to prove. Lesson plans get muddied through tears and blubbering lips. More often than not, students will direct a class toward the way they feel versus the way information is presented. Students also try and insult and shame each other into silence in an effort to prevent one another from disagreeing. It is shameful, ludicrous, and unfortunate that Trump-ian tactics of debate and conversation have trickled down into conversation at The New School.
Suffering, Pleasure, Compassion, Integrity – I do not think that these values are embedded within the Parsons curriculum. Particularly compassion and integrity. When it comes to compassion, professors genuinely do not have the capacity to understand human emotion. This is largely because professors are, by nature, inhuman. They pay no attention to the fact that a student may be working multiple jobs and could be suffering from a mental or chronic illness. In their mind, a student should have no qualms about completing 6 hours of work for their class within the week. Professors put their individual needs and priorities first, and act as if they do not have room to consider the needs of their students.
Academic integrity is a very dicey topic at Parsons. I have been in classrooms where multiple students took artwork off of the internet and presented it as their own. I am also aware of wealthier students paying other students as much as $50 to do projects for them, the rates are higher during finals. Parsons claims to have a strict policy when it comes to plagiarism, but I have yet to see students face any sort of punishment for copying another artists work. I understand that there used to be classes on copyright law, and I think they should be brought back. I think this would be beneficial to students across all majors, not just the artistic ones.
Body, Health, Pleasure, Vulnerability, Respect, Compassion, Joy – There are heaps of student clubs that pertain to special interest groups. For example, the club that I am a part of, the Sex E collective, a student-lead organization that focuses on delivering sex positive sex education to other college students. Most clubs that I have come across have a self-improvement and wellness element to them, and this allows a space for club members to become vulnerable in spaces where they have previously been trained to remain closed off. The self-centered nature of these clubs provides student members the ability to focus on themselves, their relationships, and elements of their lives that they may have previously neglected. The extracurricular activities at Parsons also give students the opportunity to exercise compassion. Parsons is a socially and economically diverse community, in which students from all backgrounds come together to flourish and support each other in a small and selective cohort of artists and creative thinkers. While they may not always be able to see eye-to-eye, students who practice compassion are better able to have more fulfilling conversations with their peers. This is best practiced through extracurricular clubs in which students can have a safe space to talk about difficult things.
Suffering, Earth, Integrity – I have yet to come across clubs and student organizations that are focused environmental science and or conservation. A majority of student organizations are business card banks and no not actually have meetings or outside of school activities. I do not think there are any clubs that value suffering, or perhaps, not openly.
It should be noted that the way in which I view suffering and value it may be different than the way someone else does. I consider the presence of my personal suffering valuable rather than something to be ashamed of or a moral failure. This is not to say I enjoy suffering, or that I want to suffer further. I am not sure if others feel the same way about suffering as I do. Therefore, I have not been able to find extracurricular activities that value this.
Vulnerability, Body, Health, Suffering, Earth, Joy, Pleasure, Respect, Compassion, Integrity – Generally speaking, I do not see my personal values aligned with The New School faculty. This does not bother me. In fact, I prefer all personal values to be disregarded in the classroom. Personal values are a poor excuse for incompetence. Too often, professors at The New School are able to spread horrific lies to their students under the guise of honest values and morality.
For example, my one professor compared the mass genocide of Native Americans to “a business transaction used to benefit the English private sector.” This was in her effort to explain that early English settlers were capitalists by nature. Not only was this comparison historically inaccurate, it is incredibly offensive, and dangerous to students who do not have the information to know that the professor was making outlandish claims.
I think that personal values have no standing in academia. This also sets me apart from my professors, who teach the class based on their personal values instead of actual information.
Body, Health, Suffering, Vulnerability, Earth, Joy, Pleasure, Respect, Compassion, Integrity – I do not feel that my personal values align with the staff. Particularly respect. A majority of the staff feel entitled to act entitled around students. They are incredibly disrespectful and have horrible manners. I was brought up to respect others and to be polite to strangers. The staff at The New School have treated me as if I had done them harm. Nothing feels more humiliating than being shouted at for having a file size that is too big, or for entering the cafeteria too early. Some staff members are kind, and I feel bad that they are lumped into the same category as the other bitter staff members.
Body, Health, Suffering, Vulnerability, Earth, Joy, Pleasure, Respect, Compassion, Integrity – I do not see my personal values aligned with other students at The New School. This does not bother me too much. Again, I do not think personal values should have a place in the classroom. What does bother me is when personal values infiltrate the classroom setting, particularly in more math and science based classes. This is not to say that everyone should be amoral and devoid of all feeling; but, I do feel that too much class time is devoted to coddling emotional students rather than teaching. My main criticism is that there is no balance between lecture and discussion. It is only emotional purging.
The only way for this to improve is if the students demanded a more rigorous curriculum from the professors, and asked more out of each other. Instead, we are letting each other get away with being passé.
Body, Health, Suffering, Vulnerability – The Student Health Services at The New School provides testing, assistance and information for all things health related. It is aligned with my values because of this. Student Health Services is not perfect, and could use a lot of improvement. One of the first steps is creating a standard “best practice” among nurse practitioners. This will include proper questions, tests to run, and information to present. I think more students would feel comfortable reaching out to them if they knew there was a standard practice rather than rolling the dice in a treatment gamble.
Earth – I understand that The New School’s Tishman Environmental Center does do a significant amount of community works and outreach. I am incredibly grateful for this. My only criticism is that there is not a lot of information for students to join in activities, should they wish to. Most events are during popular class times, or descriptions will leave out valuable information. As I further my education, I hope to become more involved with these services.
Joy, Pleasure, Integrity – The New School has a great program that practically catapults essential oils, condoms, water-based self lubricants, dental dams, and books and podcast references in the direction of the student body. The New School encourages students to take care of themselves, their sexual well-being, and their sexual partners. The latter is important, as most college campuses rarely acknowledge intimacy and much less intimacy with another–human! The New School’s services toward peer risk management and sex positivity align with mine. This is an important value to share. Coming from an incredibly small, chaste, town, an entire person’s image rested on their sexual status. While perfectly natural, sex was incredibly damaging. The New School and the services there have helped me celebrate joy, pleasure, and integrity in multiple avenues of my life, not just sexual. It also helped me make that distinction. Overall, it has helped me create a healthier outlook of myself and my decisions, whether it is deciding when to have sex or what to put in my smoothie.
Respect, Compassion – All services of The New School have these two values at their foundation. Whether or not they come across as respectful or compassionate, they do try their best to use these values as guiding principles.
Body, Health, Suffering,Vulnerability, Earth, Joy, Pleasure, Respect, Compassion, Integrity – With the exception of the library, I do not use the facilities at The New School. I do not use the facilities because I do not have to. I have my own computer, and I have my own laptop. I do not see a need to use the making center because I reuse all of my art supplies, and therefore, I am able to take them apart and re-assemble them in my dorm room.
I cannot come to the conclusion that the facilities align with my values or not. I do not dislike them, I simply do not use them.
Body, Health, Suffering, Vulnerability, Earth, Joy, Pleasure, Integrity, Respect, Compassion – I came to The New School because I thought that the resources the school offered aligned with my personal values. With that said, I have been unable to access most of the resources that the school has to offer. Most career fairs are geared toward fine arts majors. The panel discussions are during the times when I have class. The conferences that I would like to attend are usually closed off to graduate students only. Hopefully, I can start to use more resources that the school has available for me.