Goodbye Mirafiori! by Giulia Ardito and Giulia Luciani

Modern Language courses at University La Sapienza of Rome used to be held in the historical building of Villa Mirafiori located in the city’s Nomentano district. Early this year, a transition started towards the building known as Ex-Poste in the neighbouring Tiburtino area. This renovated building bears the name for its past purpose as a city mail hub.

The recent move to Ex-Poste is still a controversial topic among students as everyone has different opinions about it. Some people are still attached to the historical building known as Villa Mirafiori while others prefer the new center and consider this change a new beginning for Sapienza modern language students. Therefore, we decided to set up a debate where speakers from both stances could explain and share their opinions.

Speakers in support of Ex-Poste highlighted the presence of essential didactic tools such as microphones, projectors and free wi-fi. Classrooms are suitable for the high number of students too. Moreover, the plan for two large libraries will definitely improve the user experience. Large elevators suitable for disabled students is an additional point in favour of Ex-Poste.

On the other hand, the team against the move to Ex-Poste perceived the as-yet incomplete work on the building as a major disadvantage. The lack of green spaces and a café limits socialization among students. Moreover, Ex-Poste is not handy for daily commuting, and the lack of a car park makes private transport less manageable. It sure is a far cry from Villa Mirafiori, with its huge park and inspiring cultural history.

After the arguments were presented by the teams, the debate was opened to the floor. The audience asked several questions, bringing up new points to the debate. The lack of organization seemed to be the main concern, but it was also argued that Villa Mirafiori faced the same problems. Many questions focused on the lack of services at Ex-Poste, such as a university café, libraries, and office space for speaking with teaching staff, some of whom are still doing their office hours at Villa Mirafiori. Some doubts were raised about whether the project is really going to be finished in a few months as promised, since it started in 2009 and a certain amount of work is still pending. On a final note, the pollution of the area near Ex-Poste raised questions as to how students’ health might be affected by this move.

Overall, the team in favour presented more arguments based on the practical advantages of Ex-Poste, and that might have been the thing that helped them win the debate. Their points were varied and well structured, with arguments in favour of Ex-Poste from many perspectives. The team against based their case mainly on the aesthetic qualities of Villa Mirafiori, which are important, but perhaps not essential for the efficiency of a university building. Nevertheless, both teams presented their arguments in a clear and concise way, making the debate an effective tool for analyzing in depth the pros and cons of Ex-Poste.

 ©Giulia Bocca                                                                        Ex-Poste building

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