Recently, while I was visiting a fellow Technique staff member at their North Ave. apartment, I got a craving for Quiznos and subsequently a craving for some Oreos. Luckily, both of these are available just downstairs.
After eating a delicious five-meat stack for five dollars, I headed over to the East Side Market to get the Oreos. A surprise made me think twice, however: $2.50 for a small box of Oreos, the same that sells for a mere dollar at the CVS by my condo.
I began to notice that the Oreos were not the only item in the East Side Market that were over-priced. This prompted a pondering about what the role of this market was in the overall scheme of our Tech experience.
I found out, after doing some research, that Auxiliary Services is the umbrella organization at Tech that is in charge of this East Side Market, and then it clicked. Auxiliary Services is not only in charge of Dining, but also Housing, Parking, the Bookstore, Buzzcards, Health Services and the Student Center—pretty much anything on campus non-academic and at least half of everything I’ve ever complained about in my long tenure at Tech.
The bookstore sells overpriced textbooks and overpriced Tech garb; Housing rents overpriced dorms and apartments; Parking sells overpriced spaces and gives out ridiculously high parking tickets; and Dining sells overpriced food at restrictive hours (11 a.m. – 3 p.m.). Anyone who thinks their prices are not high has never been off campus.
I tried to think of why all of this stuff was so overpriced, why a service whose name explicitly suggest the support of students fails and why it appears that they have no regard for the students they supposedly serve.
So where does Auxiliary Services fit into our campus? What should their purpose be?
I believe Auxiliary Services’ job is to support our students, as their name implies, by providing supplementary assistance within a framework of affordable services instead of taking advantage of us and fleecing us for every last cent possible.
Need I remind them that without us students, they don’t have a job?
Like many things in the government, and remember that Tech is a public and therefore government institution, our school has become bogged down by bureaucracy. Parking hands out tickets simply to get money because it must continue to survive. Mumblings in offices around campus frequently lament of the student they are here to serve.
Here is my list of four simple challenges to Auxiliary Services:
1. Lower prices on your products to a competitive level, even though you do not have to because you have a monopoly on campus. Show us, the students, that you really are working for us.
2. Reduce parking fines. Stop charging students an arm and a leg for overstaying a meter or some other infraction that does not matter much. If the City of Atlanta can afford to fine only $10 for a meter, so can we. We want to discourage this behavior, not cause people to go bankrupt from mis-timing their parking.
3. Fix the Stingers and Trolleys. I don’t mean mechanically, I mean periodically. I saw three red route busses in a row this past Wednesday. That should never happen. Also, the Stingers should not sit at North Ave. or Fitten for five minutes at a time. They will serve more students if they just keep moving.
4. Keep more food court options open later. I can’t begin to enumerate the times I’ve left class hungry at 2:55pm only to be met by dim lights and a host of chicken sandwiches. Chick-fil-A is good, but even it gets old.
Auxiliary Services should be offering support to students at more than fair prices, should not be overly restrictive in the hours they offer services to students and should make a concerted effort to work with student to figure out what it is that they could better do to make a student’s time at Tech more enjoyable and generally better.