The Backbone

Geneseo is very adamant on the importance of integrative learning, and the university has many resources to help students use this. Integrative learning is important to higher education, as it connects the classroom knowledge not only between courses, but also to real life experiences that students have. According to the AAC&U, “ integrative experiences often occur as learners address real-world problems … to require multiple areas of knowledge and multiple modes of inquiry, offering multiple solutions and benefiting from multiple perspectives. Integrative and applied learning also involves internal changes in the learner.” Integrative learning is important, in my opinion, as it allows student to fully grasp a concept by using prior knowledge and experience, literature, and other coursework. This paper in particular allows me to use integrative learning, as I am connecting resources such as Octavia Butler’s “Bloodchild”, the Geneseo Heating and Facilities resource pages, and my personal experience at Geneseo. Personally, I find the relationship between the students of SUNY Geneseo and the staff of the facilities services to be similar to the relationship between TLics and Terrans in “Bloodchild”.

The facilities services is integral part of the Geneseo campus community. According to the video found on Facilities Services page, “the department of facilities services plays a significant role that advances SUNY Geneseo’s mission by providing quality maintenance services across campus infrastructure to ensure that the college runs smoothly”. This is an important aspect to academic partnership with the college, as the institution places a large role on this department to allow students to rest assured knowing the buildings and facilities they use daily are clean and sanitary. The students of Geneseo are allotted the tranquility of this, knowing that their first priorities are academic studies, and not having to worry about cleaning their own facilities. For example, students do not have to worry about tables in study areas being dirty, as they are regularly wiped and sanitized. 

The Geneseo Heating plant is also an integral part of life on campus. According to the heating plant website, the responsibilities of the heating plant are as follows: the management of the heating plant and the Campus Satellite Boiler system, energy consumption and conservation, and utility distribution. Also on the webpage, I learned there is staff working 24/7 thats works to maintain the buildings on campus that are used daily. I believe that this is a reward of partnership with Geneseo, as they have a full staff at all times to make sure the campus is properly maintained. This staff is composed of highly trained personnel, so they are very knowledgeable about the subjects the staff deals with everyday. Another aspect of the heating plant is the large smokestack, which is located right behind the Union, a building that most students use very often. I have always noticed the building, but I had no idea what its function was until it was brought about in this course. To me that speaks volumes about the relationship between the students and staff of Geneseo, which I will later discuss. 

Octavia Butler’s “Bloodchild” describes an alien planet where humans, known as Terrans, have escaped to. The other creatures of this world, Tlics, use the Terrans as hosts to bear their young for them since they are unable to themselves. The story focuses on the relationship between Gan and T’Gatoi. T’Gatoi is set in an agreement with Gan’s mother to use Gan as a host to birth her children, but after Gan accidentally witnesses a birthing process, which was horrific to him, causing him to “vomit until there was nothing left to bring up”. While outside, he comes across his brother Qui who tells Gan of his experience watching a different birthing process that ended badly.  Gan then ends up agreeing to T’Gatoi again, to save his sister from having to do it “and to keep [T’Gatoi] for [himself]”. 

I see a similar relationship roles between the students and facilities staff at Geneseo and between the terran and Tlic in Butler’s “Bloodchild”. The relationship between the Terran and Tlic in “Bloodchild” can be viewed as one sided, with the Terran giving and the Tlic receiving, since the Terran never truly benefited from bearing the Tlic children. The Tlic viewed Terran as objects for their use, and “wanted more of [them] available.” Gan states that Terran are “necessities, status symbols”, which goes to show the reader that the Tlic are under the impression they are higher status of Terran. In no way am I implying that the students of Geneseo view the facilities department staff as objects or less than. The point that I see similar between the two relationships is the disregarding of people that do necessity services for you. The Tlic, as stated before, view the Terran as means to birth their children and not much else. They disregard what the Terran do for them,because it is their “job” in society. Before given the topic in this course, I will admit that I have overlooked the work that the Geneseo staff does for the students, and the fact that there are many more people in our campus community than students, professors, and administrators. The staff that makes sure our beautiful campus remains beautiful and continues to run often get overlooked, and I believe that could be their risk in partnership with the college. Much like the Tlic, the students of Geneseo would not be able to live on campus without these staff, as they are in charge of not only keeping the academic buildings, but the residences as well, cleaning and providing necessities such as hot water. This point is similar to “Bloodchild”, because if the Terran were not there, the Tlic would have not have a safe way to bear their children. 

In conclusion, the relationship between the Tlic and Terran share similarities as the relationship between student at Geneseo and the staff of the department of facilities and the heating plant, as they both can be argues to be one-sided. In my opinion, the work of the staff is a reward for the students of academic partnership with the college, as they see to the campus buildings and ensure that every aspect is safe for students. Yet, the staff may see it as a “risk”,as they often go immensely under-appreciated and undervalued. While writing this paper, I have realized how integrative learning is extremely beneficial to traditional academics. If I had not been a part of this relationship I have written about, I would not have been able to write this paper. Moreover, I would not have had the “internal changes” cited from the AAC&U. Through the experience of this, I have taken more into thought the work of the facilities department staff and will make sure that they are no longer overlooked by myself and those around me. The department of facilities services and the staff of the heating plant are the backbone of SUNY Geneseo.

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