This week the Undergraduate House of Representatives of Student Government Association was given a rare preview of a bill that will be up for consideration in a few weeks. A presentation was made explaining a request for $225,000 of Student Activity Fees to fund renovations and updates on the Tech Rec bowling lanes, specifically the pin setters that keep the lanes functional.
This request is a large one, and all representatives should be aware of the fact that if passed, it will spend approximately two-thirds of the existing capital outlay budget, leaving SGA with just over $100,000 remaining in the budget for the rest of the year. That sort of budget depreciation on a single bill, no matter what the purpose, is not something that should be taken lightly.
The planned upgrades to the pin setters are expected to last for nearly 30 years, working out to a price of roughly $7,500 per year of use. This is an investment that will have far-reaching effects not just on current students, but for students in years to come.
While the expenses that have been requested by Tech Rec are for legitimate needs, as the bowling lanes are barely operational at this point and are in dire need of repair, Tech Rec should not be written a blank check for the renovations. Representatives need to poll their constituencies, to find out exactly how much value the student body places on bowling. If students think that having cheap bowling on campus is worth almost a quarter of a million dollars, then the bill should be passed.
The new equipment for the bowling lanes would most likely be a beneficial purchase for the soon-to-be renovated Tech Rec, increasing the productivity of one of the most popular past times that the Rec offers. However, other, less expensive options for the space could also be looked into, such as expanding the pool tables or adding in more arcade-style games.
While new equipment for the lanes does appear to be an entertaining and worthwhile expense to many, it should be up to the students to decide if they want to continue providing this service. The student body should not be forced to fund such an exorbitant bill without being given every opportunity to express their opinion.
This bill was introduced conveniently after SGA awareness week, and campus should still be sensitive to what their elected representatives are doing. SGA should use this bill as an opportunity to receive student feedback, to develop new and better methods for polling the student body and to determine whether or not students understand that they pay for many of the amenities on campus by choice, not out of necessity.