Though the school offers a high quality,
proximal, no cost education (an elite
opportunity in 2030), it is not "free".
This opportunity is offered in exchange
for student research and labor, and their
participation as test subjects for
its plethora of scientific and technological
studies. Students are now workers-in-training
who live and work in adjacent rooms. Their
rooms are rows of stacked "hotbunks",
with occupants' schedules staggered
in complex research/recreate/labor/sleep
shifts. Since the need for sleep has
been converted into short "restoration
cycles through BioNeuroNanoComm advances,
and a small but effective gene "tweak"
stimulates productivity, students can
spend full 8 hour labor and research shifts
and still have time for recreation.
Because of the increased risks of the world outside of the campus, as identified
by University insurance officials, funded students must agree in their debt
contracts to remain inside at all times; they are simply too valuable as investments
to be made vulnerable to illness, random violence, tradeSpys or contamination.
Inside the new labtower is everything a research community might want in the
arenas of research technology, entertainment and medical support and communications.
There’s even a wave machine Bwhere you can still surf! Concern over intellectual
property leakage necessitates an intricate security apparatus which tracks all
community members: not even the Chancellor is exempt.
Inevitably, the move indoors to more confined settings has brought about changes
in social conventions to which everyone is still adjusting. Most people prefer
to communicate through mediating gadgets and devices even with their friends
and romantic interests. Over the years, people have become more comfortable
with engaging with each other via private, public and semi-public media rather
than face to face. The students inside are the children of the current global
generation of college students.
The bureaucratic framework that keeps things running is automated almost entirely
by machine, though there is a maintenance crew. These technical service workers
are “the new janitors”.