by Elijah DeRoche, United World College Maastricht
June 25th, 2018
UWC Maastricht prides itself as a well-rounded community with a healthy discourse between administrators, staff, and students. This is ensured through frequent community meetings and conversations between the staff and students.
In an effort to bring color to our exceedingly grey campus, there are plans to remove the cage: a centerpiece of sorts that serves as a basketball court and football pitch. In its place, a grass-covered amphitheater would be constructed, acting as a place for gatherings, meetings or performances. While to some, this may be a positive change, the consensus among other students, especially those residing, has been mostly one of dismay. The cage serves as a place for fun and healthy exercise, whether that be enjoyed by MYP students, DP’s or teachers alike, and while the tall metal fences may not be appealing on the eye, the area holds an importance within the community that cannot be replaced by an amphitheater.
On the other hand, the school is definitely in need of beautification. The grey building walls are not complemented by the tall, metal fence that surrounds the cage, and in response, our administration has begun making plans to adorn the campus. This is a change that could be hugely positive for our community, giving students a space to collect and bond, while also offering a more relaxing and education-friendly setting. Our administration has also expressed an understanding of the community’s active needs and plan on relocating the cage, a pricey task with no definite time frame. In the meantime, there are plans for constructing a temporary facility, but a better option may be to open up the indoor gym for use beyond school hours.
The problem in this situation stems from the actual removal of the cage, but from the obscure process, our administrators have taken regarding its removal. Have we, the students who most affected by this change been clearly asked what we want? While there has been engagement in the MYP community, there has not been a sufficient amount of information offered to the DP community. It seems only fair to incorporate the students and residing staff in the discussion rather than removing the cage without notice.
For the students, resident mentors and families living on campus for the majority of the year, UWCM has become a home and its community a family. The cage is a facility in constant use, not only by students throughout the school day but also by those who remain on campus after classes end. While no decisions regarding its removal are concrete, a lack of consideration for this group would undermine the structure and trust our community has fostered. As an issue that affects the entire UWCM population, I believe that legitimate meetings should be held, weighing the input of all members equally. With all changes, there will be both those in favor and opposition. It is extremely valuable to consider the community and its opinions when making both large and small decisions, as ultimately, it is us who will be affected the most.
Elijah DeRoche is an American first year student at United World College Maastricht. He has been a part of The Flying Dutchman as a writer since January 2018.