Members of Student Association (SA) are currently in the process of extending the hours of operation of the Student Union hours in an effort to give students and organization more space and options to meet and connect. We at The New Paltz Oracle commend SA’s efforts to extend the hours in the Student Union (SU).
When the Atrium was first opened to the campus community, college officials stressed that it would be a place for students to convene and spend their downtime. However, students are only given 15 hours a day during the week and even more limited time over the course of the weekend.
Officials promised us a place to meet with our peers, providing us with a space in the center of campus. The SU has proven itself to be a safe, relaxing environment which is vital for all of us. Computers, air hockey tables and pool tables were put there for our use. With the SU not being open during times when students aren’t busy, they get put to waste.
Students lead busy lives with classes, clubs, athletics and interests outside of the confines of SUNY New Paltz. School, work, and practices all generally operate or happen during the day time, for various reasons. This gives the wide array of student organizations that we still want to find time to be a part of a limited window to convene – keeping the SU open at different times could widen it.
With a limited amount of hours in the SU, some student organizations and groups have been forced to meet off campus. To us, this is ridiculous considering how much space is available in the SU. The actvity fee that all students pay at the beginning of the year is so that clubs can meet and without hassle. Some of this fee should be put towards students keeping office hours open, as it would help make scheduling meeting times and events less stressful.
With more hours open, organizations will not have to rush to reserve the same space in the same rooms at the same times. These organizations will be able to schedule meetings easier, creating less stress for building organizers and everyone involved.
Student groups and organizers in general would also have more time to plan events in the building. We have seen them do so successfully in the past. Last year’s walk out/teach-in drew a large crowd of people eager to learn about serious budgetary issues, and part of this success is due to the availability of the SU’s Multipurpose Room (MPR). We would like to see more events like these, and having more hours of operation would create greater opportunities.
For students, the SU is our common ground where we can also meet with friends to catch up. With cold weather and numerous construction projects around campus, we as students are limited to only so many places to meet on campus. The SU’s convenience is vital and students should use it to it’s full advantage. More hours would give students a better opportunity.
Many students find free time during the evenings, past the hours of operation for the SU. The Atrium, in particular, has proven itself a popular area for students to study and relax. Why should these hours be limited during a time where students need it the most? Increasing SU hours during the evenings will provide a better chance for students to utilize what the SU has to offer.
We understand the financial constraints relating to staffing the building for safety reasons are serious. We appreciate college officials are concerned about our well-being during the late hours of the night. However it is clear that extending the hours of the SU is something we need to happen. Therefore hiring some sort night staff, however large it is, should be a priority of officials..
We as a student body need to see the hours of the SU expand. The SU truly belongs to us, and it should be available to us when we need it.