Probably the most important decision that this year’s student council will make is whether or not to commit to funding a new student center.
As the proposal stands right now, student fees will be raised $45 over the next five years and eventually we will bond with the legislature for some $40 million dollars for this new structure on campus. This financial commitment on the part of every student would eventually come to about $90 per student, per semester, and remain in force (depending on the terms of the agreement) for the next 20 to 30 years. That’s quite a fee.
There are some, though not many, seemingly compelling reasons to build a new student center. The current center is getting about as full as it can get, and accommodating an expanding student population will be difficult. Also, there is also not a whole lot to actually do in the current student center: you can eat and play pool and not much else.
The new center could have many fun things, bowling, exercise areas, maybe even a rock wall, jacuzzi, or pool – a veritable carnival of entertainment.
This relates to some of the less concrete reasoning behind the proposal – it is supposed to create a sense of community and socialization among the student body, to create Wolverines rather than just students by providing a place entirely belonging to and run by the students. Having this place to build solidarity and school spirit is supposed to help students succeed by giving them the full university experience.
But that dog won’t hunt. You don’t need the full university experience to get an excellent university education as our reputation as a largely commuter school without distinct university “feel” shows. A new student center will offer no direct help in making education more effective. Having a place to bowl just won’t improve your understanding of Kant or genetics, no matter how you split it.
We also don’t need any new features on our campus to attract and retain students – we have plenty of enrollment problems already. In other words, the overwhelming number of people already wanting to attend this school clearly aren’t coming for the experience of being at a typical university, because we have never offered that, and we certainly shouldn’t start now.
$40 million for a place to call our own isn’t nearly enough bang for the buck, not at a place whose role is and always should be to make a quality education available to as many people as possible.
Frankly, anything on campus that adds another distraction to the litany of distractions already keeping the average student from what matters most – learning – is not priority number one, especially at such a high price.
Fortunately, the decision has not yet been carved into stone, and what you think about the proposal matters.
You can voice your opinion by contacting your student council representative. Visit http://www.uvu.edu/studentgovernment/academicsenate/contactus.html and to let them know what you really think.