Over the past few years, Tech has seen a dramatic increase in construction projects on campus. From the tennis center to the Clough Commons (CULC), the focal point of these new facilities has been primarily academics and athletics. No new construction has specifically addressed creating additional recreational space for students on campus.
As it stands, the Student Center is a place that many students see as merely a place to grab a quick meal and not much else. Despite this, the Student Center houses a number of important assets to student life. Tech Rec, the Craft Center and dozens of organizations are housed there, yet, due to their placement, go largely under utilized. Whether it be through an expansion or a renovation, the Student Center could be optimized in a manner that better benefits the students.
The design and layout of the CULC, for example, create a comfortable space for academic life. A similarly designed Student Center that focused on promoting an epicenter of student involvement on campus could produce similar results. A space potentially designed for friends to socialize on campus outside of academic areas, a space for a more visual and open area for campus organization headquarters to promote their institutions, and a space for students to branch out for any other reason that may come to mind.
While the cost of this improvement may be steep, there are ways of rasing revenue through the introduction of a Student Center fee, a fee not uncommon to many other universities with successful student centers, and alumni donations. In the end, the university and students may have a to bear some of the cost, but the reality is that academic performance goes hand in hand with student satisfaction. If the focus on construction remains solely on academics and athletics, then the cost of ignoring student life will quickly add up.