The Student Association (SA) senators are working on extending the hours of the Student Union (SU) and installing a printer in the building for campus organizations to use.
“Extending Student Union hours was of principle as well as practicality,” said Manuel Tejada, the senator spearheading this change. “Hopefully we can see changes happen over the year through next semester, but it requires steps to be taken at a manageable pace.”
Before the legislation about the intiative written, the senate is developing a survey that will poll the student body on their use of the SU. The questions in the survey include when students would want to see the SU open and what time would be appropriate for weekend and weekdays, Tejada said.
“As of right now, putting the survey out there can happen either in person, or online, although that remains to be worked on,” Tejada said.
He said many events, conferences and club meetings are limited to being held in the SU and feels that this space is for the students and should be there for them to use when they need it.
“The SU remains the students’ building and by having it open until 12 a.m. does inhibit students from having a safe space for the weekends to gather, get together, and build community,” said Tejada. “As a member of Student Association senate, meetings do last close to midnight and by allowing the SU hours to be extended will provide more space and time for others as well.”
Tejada said extending the hours of the SU will require a lot of financial recourses and the senate will have to evaluate budgetary constraints and have further discussions before anything can be implemented.
Michael Patterson, director of Student Activities and Union Services, is in favor of revising the hours of operation of the SU such as making it open and close later on the weekend or during the week.
He said that the hours have been the same since he started working here three and a half years ago. However, New Paltz does not have the finances to cover extra hours at this time.
“As a rough estimate, one hour more each day for the course of a school year it runs about $14,000 to $15,000,” said Patterson. “This estimate includes maintenance, lights, energy, water and staffing and that’s just for one hour— if we stayed open until 2 a.m. it would cost around $30,000.”
Patterson said finding financial resources from the institution for additional operations may be a challenging due to the recent budget cuts, as well as the state of the economy, but he hopes to help with students to adjust the hours and budget based on the needs shown by the survey results. He said it will based on the proposed printer survey and he will look into possible alternatives.
“I am in full support of what the SA is looking into and I’m looking to support what they need and what they care about,” said Patterson.
Additionally, SA is working on installing a printer in the SU; this is being led by Sen. Jonathon Espinosa and will be sought in the following semester. The focus switched to looking at printing solutions for student organizations.
According to Patterson, the goal is to have an accessible workstation for clubs and organizations to print flyers and advertisements but this is still in the early stages.