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Editorial: Student body should start the movement of campus improvements

Seventeen years ago, VSU’s Recreation Center, one of the most valued facilities on campus, was unveiled to the student body. The genesis of this project was nearly a decade before that.

In 1995, SGA voted in favor of enacting a special activities fee of $30 to be directed towards financing the entire project, according to an article by Recreation Management Magazine.

Richard Hammond, the director of campus recreation at the time, said, “It’s a student-built facility. They were the driving force.”

That fee has been in effect ever since.

As of right now, that fee has been included as ‘miscellaneous’ charges in tuition. The Director of Campus Recreation, Shawn Phippen, announced to SGA before spring break that this charge will be paid off at the end of the 2019 school year.

In January of this year, a lobbying committee comprised of many different student services, including Student Union Services, Athletics and Parking, lobbied for the approval of a $30 fee from all students to cover the cost of future maintenance and remodeling projects to the rec center.

This newly proposed fee was pitched to SGA in order to help pay for the nearly $500,000 roof repair and potential additions to on-field concessions during VSU games. It was meant to replace the fee that will be expiring next year. SGA President Maya Mapp stressed the importance of member feedback regarding the decision on the fee.

“At the end of the day, this is our money and we have a say in how those funds are allocated,” Mapp said in January.

Now, Phippen has asked SGA what should be done with the $30. One option could be to keep that fee to produce more improvements to the rec, such as increased operation hours, updating workout areas, equipment and the sundeck space.

However, the time has come to consider if we can ensure the creation of one of our most valued facilities, we can do more.

Repurposing of the VSU owned building and parking lot formerly known as Ashley Cinemas on Patterson Street could be a good start. This location could be converted to be used as a discount movie theatre for VSU students.  It can also offer a place for students to converge and hold student-run functions.

Because the building and parking lot are already built, most efforts would be focused on renovation, rather than building an entire new facility.

Phippen is focusing on conducting a student survey this semester in order to determine what students want to happen to that $30 fee. He wants SGA’s help in gathering at least 2,400 students for this survey and plans to turn it over to VSU’s fee committee once finished.

Anything can be improved, and VSU’s campus holds many opportunities in that regard. All it takes is the student body to speak out and offer their ideas for a better campus community. A $30 fee in tuition can go a long way to improving, updating or creating campus facilities. So, what would you do for an extra $30?

This editorial was written by a member of the editorial staff and expresses the general opinion of The Spectator.

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