The Value of Integrative Learning

Integrative learning allows students to use their outside knowledge, such as books they have read, and relate them to what they are learning at the current moment. Integrative learning as defined by the AAC&U is “..occur as learners address real-world problems, unscripted and sufficiently broad, to require multiple areas of knowledge and multiple modes of inquiry, offering multiple solutions and benefiting from multiple perspectives.” Integrative learning plays an important role in daily life as people learn more about different concepts and allows them to relate to previous knowledge that they have, as well as use it to understand the concept. As I have written this essay, it allows me to practice integrative learning using different sources and different perspectives to think and write about, especially by using the Facilities Service and the Heating Plant web pages, and Octavia Butler’s “Bloodchild”.

There are many elements that Geneseo has helping contribute to the academic partnership between the school and the students. One of those elements is the Facilities Services. The Facilities Services contribute a lot which some students don’t even realize, such as vacuuming all the buildings everyday, making sure that everything is clean for the students to use, and making sure that everything is safe in every way.  As the web page for the Facilities Services states, they provide “…quality maintenance services that assure safe, reliable, aesthetically pleasing buildings and grounds.” This plays a large part in the partnership since the department helps keep everything running and operational so that students can use the resources to their full abilities. As well, the Facilities Services, as Karen Rockhill states, enjoy seeing the students of Geneseo grow and graduate, as well as getting to know the students they see on campus. This is an important aspect of the partnership as well since it allows the students to know who is running the campus behind the scenes, out of sight of the students on campus,  as well as how the students respond to how things are fixed through the trust the Facilities Services acquires through the relationship. As I develop a relationship with Facilities Services, I begin to notice the small things that these services do such as clean the bathrooms everyday and help clean the trash rooms to make sure that it does not become a nuisance to the students. Not only do the Facilities Services contribute a lot, they are hand in hand with the Heating Plant on campus. 

Being right in the middle of campus, behind the most frequented building, the Union, I have never fully noticed the heating plant. According to the heating plant website, “The Heating Plant unit is responsible for the management and operation of the Central Heating Plant, Campus Satellite Boiler System, campus-wide energy consumption and conservation, and the operation and maintenance of utility distribution systems throughout the College Campus.” Not only is what the heating plant responsible for important, the location of the heating plant plays a large role into how it runs. Due to the fact that the heating plant is in the middle of the campus, it is able to monitor all of the different areas of campus all in one area. According to the webpage, the heating plant has a staff that is working 24/7. This is important to the relationship that the students have with the institution because the staff is constantly working on several things, including power to the campus and the use of hot water in every building. This relationship was seen when the power outage had occurred on the North Side. It was also shown when the staff from the heating plant had been working around the clock to ensure that the repair had been fixed, that an outage would never happen again, and the North Side had electricity and power to do all that they had to.Not only does the Heating Plant work on its relationship with the students, it is also working on its relationship with the environment through “… the Heating Plant unit monitors the energy management system, calculates combustion efficiencies, tests chemicals used to treat boilers and responds to after-hours maintenance emergencies throughout campus.” This relationship is important since the work at the Heating Plant does impact the environment and could make it better or worse. I feel that I never fully noticed this building since it is hidden and not talked about as much, even though it is one of the most important buildings on campus, in my opinion.

When one thinks about the relationship of the Facilities Services and Heating Plant, they can relate it to “Bloodchild”, by Octavia Butler, as well as to the relationship a college student has with the services available to them. According to Butler’s story, there was an agreement signed several years before the story took place. This idea was implied throughout the entire story, especially when stated that “… my mother promised T’Gatoi one of her children.” This showcased an important role since it showed that this agreement was done before Gan was born and he played no part in it. It was later supported when it was stated that the only reason that Gan’s mother promised a child to T’Gatoi was because it was better than her child being paired with a complete stranger. However, as Gan saw new information come to light, the relationship changed with T’Gatoi and it made her realize that Gan deserves a say in every part of the relationship. This can relate to a student’s relationship to the Facilities Services because this relationship was established years before my class, which we agreed to be a part of this relationship, however students are not presented every aspect of the agreement. There is importance in pointing out that students who attend the university agreed to the relationship and dynamic, while in the story, the agreement wasn’t a choice for the Terrans, and they had to comply with it despite not knowing fully what it is. This caused an issue between Gann and T’Gatoi, since it was expected of everyone to be okay with everything despite not knowing the full story. As I learned more about the role the Facilities Services play, I feel that my perspective and appreciation changed since it allows me to understand and know what they do to help students succeed at Geneseo. 

When someone thinks of the Heating Plant and Facility Services, they may not automatically think that these services play a role in the academic relationship between a student and the college they attend. As one looks at this relationship, they may look at different sources such as the Facility Services information page and look at the responsibilities of the Heating Plant. When I first looked at the webpage, it was surprising how much these services do for the student body, yet do not get the recognition that I believe they deserve. Also, while I was reading the web page for the Heating Plant, I felt amazed that the Heating Plant is doing their part in helping the Earth through the monitoring of energy usage on campus, as well as the conservation efforts they make. I now have a different outlook on the Facilities Services and the Heating Plant, which allows me to appreciate everything they do for the students.

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