More space needed for student orgs

Shane Wade
Opinion Editor

Despite VCU’s recent growth and expansion, the environment here still feels, in some ways, limiting.

With more than 500 registered student organizations operating between the Monroe Park and MCV Medical campus, it’s not unreasonable to sometimes feel crowded or frustrated by the lack of available space for any planned events, practices or meeting space. That sentiment is exemplified by the administration’s decision to disallow student organization from using Franklin Street Gym as a location for meetings or practice spaces.

While the university’s concern regarding security issues of the past is valid, it’s not inconceivable that the university provide a security officer to the building to do routine patrols and keep track of what organizations are using the building.

Afterall, the university spent $1.5 million on security cameras for the perimeter of the campus, $2,000 for each in-class audience camera and $44 million on the new Academic Learning Commons; why not shell out a couple thousand more dollars on a measure that immediately benefits the student body, rather than permitting the Student Government Association to budget money to a student organization for a basic service that the university should be providing?

It is patently dishonest for the university to promote rampant diversity and the number of student organizations here as a selling point to prospective families, while simultaneously not providing said student organizations with the most basic of necessities.

We’ve constructed ourselves into the wider community of Richmond through fostering these diverse and engaged student organizations. A working trust between the administration and organizations has been established; as much as the administration wants to push their “15-in-4” (a campaign that’s geared toward persuading students to take 15 credit hours per-semester in order to graduate in four years), it’s equally important that students spend their time here learning through actions, both outside of the classroom, work and internships and in an engaging, peer setting.

Not only do student organizations develop interpersonal relationships, they also help to build networking connections, mass organizational skills and function as a creative and recreational outlet. They’re an integral part of the learning experience that is college life and a critical asset to student development and growth.

With more than 20 sports teams, at both the club and intramural level, it’s almost embarrassing that we don’t have more than one field for practice. Granted we are living in a city and have limited green space, but our athletic expansion cannot be solely based around our basketball team.

While we don’t necessary have an ample amount of resources to fund our athletic programs the way we would like to, it doesn’t mean that their needs are inconsequential. Another field would clear up congestion on the Cary Street Field and give other organizations, particularly minor sports clubs and non-sport clubs wishing to engaging in team-building recreational sports activities an area to call their own.

There isn’t time to wait for VCU to begin construction on another phase of the University Student Commons or another building. Presently, there is available space not being otherwise utilized. While the SGA has provided dance organizations with a feasible alternative, it is unnecessary considering the solution to the issue is easy and readily accessible for the administration.

  Whether the Bhangra Off-Campus Space bill (to be voted on by the SGA Appropriations Committee today) passes or not is almost beside the point; it’s unnecessary for feasible solutions to be ignored and for student organizations to be slighted in the manner that they have been.

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