Distracting construction, starting as early as 9 a.m., can hinder many researchers, students and teachers when classes are in session.
Devanshi Khokhani, a biosciences teaching assistant, instructs on the first floor of Lapham Hall. She teaches between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. and deals with the outdoor construction noise during three out of four of her lectures. Khokhani has a soft voice and struggles to deliver the material that is most important to her students with the loud, disruptive construction, she says.
Several techniques to enhance the delivery of the material have been taken into action by Khokhani. She walks between students as she lectures to a hall of undergrads, however, being heard can still be a tough task to battle with the vibrations rumbling throughout the lecture hall.
With labs being performed three times a week in between lectures, construction is the background to the daily lives of those UW-Milwaukee students, teaching assistants and faculty members. Khokhani said that on the day of her elements of biology midterm exam there was no construction that took place.
“I was shocked, but I really appreciated it,” Khokhani said.
Khokhani believes construction crews should let instructors know a specific time and day the demolitions will occur so that teachers can inform the students in advance.
Outside of teachers and students, the noise of the construction is interrupting on-campus research as well.
Darren Rebar is part of the Graduate Fellowship at UWM. Rebar does experiments on animal behavior, particularly on how insects communicate through vibrations. With construction literally right outside of his lab window, many complications arose.
Rebar uses a laser vibrometer to monitor the vibrations between male and female treehoppers as he observes their mating calls. Treehoppers are generally most active during the summer season, with high peaks at July and August. As the construction project began in August, it made things difficult for the experiment.
“There wasn’t really good communication with the bugs from our lab, but the worst of it is over,” Rebar said .
Rebar explained that treehoppers are very active between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., which also was the peak of the construction hours, causing problematic mating observations. His experiment has ended due the bugs dying, as it is the cold season.
Rebar considered trying to conduct his experiment after 7 p.m. several times.
“You’re on their time and you can’t change them,” Rebar said of the insects.
Rebar realizes that it would be difficult to try to conduct such experiments at an unnatural time of the day for mating without receiving skewed results.
The various construction projects around campus are to better the research development and educational experience on campus. The school’s face-lift is outlined in a six-year Capital Project Plan from 2013 to 2019. Construction is here to stay, and students may simply have to get used to it.