MURPHY: Murphy muses on the fireside chat


Ryan Murphy

A week ago today, I joined about 30 of my peers at MUSG’s fireside chat with President Lovell. Thankfully, the circumstances surrounding this fireside chat were much more benign than those surrounding Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s original radio broadcasts.  Marquette, unlike America in the ‘30s, is experiencing no Great Depression.

As much as I relished the opportunity to hear our president speak, I was equally eager to finally step foot in the legendary Sensenbrenner reading room. I was not disappointed.  The stained glass and dark wood panelling were reminiscent of a Hogwart’s bathroom – very impressive.  The only thing that might have made the setting even more magical was a real fire in the hearth.

None of the questions posed to Dr. Lovell were too hard-hitting; even so, he and the other administrators present gave interesting answers, and they were clearly engaged in the discussion.

I appreciated his desire to develop more opportunities for students to apply their learning in service projects.  As it is now, many of us see our academic obligations and our service opportunities belonging to separate spheres, so it is encouraging to see an effort underway to connect the two.  Lovell made a point that service is a way to break the “Marquette bubble,” in which so many end up trapped.  After all, there is a lot we have to offer our Milwaukee community and a lot we can learn from it in the process.

A large part of the time was spent discussing the master plan. This is no surprise, as most of us are anxious to see how the campus will develop, even if we graduate by the time the changes are made. Lovell hinted that we may have a grocery store on campus soon, an advancement everyone is keen to welcome.  

Even more exciting to me was the talk of a new College of Business building. The facade of the current structure is a boring gray rectangle. I find it doesn’t represent all the excitement that goes on inside, from the AIM students eagerly eyeing the stock market as they invest millions of dollars, to the freshmen panicking as they look for the restrooms that seem not to exist.  

One of the more interesting questions asked if there is any possibility of changing the residence halls’ visitation policy to allow opposite gendered guests to stay the night. Jim McMahon, the Associate Vice President and Dean of Residence Life, explained that it had been Marquette’s policy for a while, but that he had been a part of the team that established the policy we have today. I agree with him that there is no need to change the policy back. For students who wish to study late at night with opposite-gender friends, the campus has a variety of 24-hour spaces available. Practically speaking, there are far too many who would abuse the policy to the annoyance of their roommates.

The announcement of Belgian waffle-makers bearing Marquette’s logo elicited the most ecstatic response by far. Like Leslie Knope, we have our priorities straight at this school: Waffles come first.  The caveat that the waffle-maker would have to be chained to the wall is nothing to us.

It is encouraging to have an administration that is so open to dialogue with students. If Lovell continues in this way, I have no doubt he will continue to be very well-liked and well-respected by the student body.