Cell phone service providers should set sights lower than Everest

Chris Slattery

If you would have come to me two years ago and asked me what my biggest pet peeve about college was, I would have ranted at you about cell phones and how they are destroying society. I would have blabbered on about students paying more attention to texting friends during class than the textbooks in front of them. I may even have had the audacity to argue the idiocy of people talking on their phones as they walk back to their dorms.

But as Bob … somebody (the last name escapes me) … once said, “The times they are a-changin’.” Although, I think he also said to have your pets spayed and neutered, which has nothing to do with anything, but is still very important.

Two years later, I feel infinitely wiser and a hundred-times more technologically advanced. Part of it may be due to the fact that conforming to the societal norms and embracing advances in communicative sciences is easier than fighting them. It may also have to do with the fact that my phone now has a full keyboard.

With this embrace of cell phones, I have noticed something unsettling: Grand Valley State University does not have the best reception in the world. At all. And someone needs to do something about it.

The problem isn’t so much the fact that Allendale isn’t No. 1 in cellular service hotspots, but rather the fact that I feel I should be able to make a call from campus and hear the conversation clearer than the heavy breathing coming from the apartment next door through my bedroom wall.

I only assume this fact because just outside my window are three tall blinking towers that we can pretend are airplanes in the night sky or stationary stars set to strobe. I don’t know their exact purpose (I sure hope they have one), but I wish to assume that they send some form of signal from something to something else. This begs the question: Is it difficult to convert a 200-foot metal pole into a cell phone tower?

The process can’t be terribly complex and should promptly remedy the whole “I could get better reception on Mt. Everest” dilemma.

I wish I were kidding about this; Mt. Everest recently installed 3G towers, which makes not only phone conversations easy while climbing to the summit but also tweeting about it on your BlackBerry as well.

To paraphrase the last paragraph: Mt. Everest may have better cell phone service than GVSU.

It’s just unfortunate that Area 51 in downstairs Kirkhof and the lower rooms in AuSable seem to have lined their walls with lead to prevent students from achieving any kind of communication with the outside world.

Regardless of service from AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, MagicJack, etc. it can be difficult to find a reliable signal around campus. This is a problem as the winter months begin and the likelihood of a traffic collision skyrockets. Communication across long distances is more crucial than ever during this time of year.

I may not be climbing Everest, but I do need a ride — it’s cold outside.

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