Crowds of students swarming though the Student Center is a traditional rite of the beginning of fall semester, but the magnitude of the crowds this year point to challenges the Student Center faces in the short term and the larger problems of the future.
We commend the continued efforts the Student Center has made to accommodate students, but more must be done. While the new dining options in the Student Center Commons appear to be a success with students, the utilization of these eateries has been greatly hampered by long lines and a lack of seating space. Even if the current level of usage reduces by a third and efficiency increases, the current model for the Student Center Commons food court is unsustainable. More action is required in that area to alleviate the congestion, which will only get worse when the CULC opens.
All space in the Student Center must be studied for how it can best be used, and priority should be given to services and offices with true need for a prime location on campus. While the Student Center should be the central hub of student activity, its facilities are stretched too thin right now and honing its priorities and offerings should help the problem. The transplant of Under the Couch saw it lose some of its charm and is a missed opportunity to change the programming of the area to better cater to the needs of students.
But those who run the Student Center are working with a lack of resources, and as enrollment increases, the deficit will only get worse. The physical Student Center is too small and is in need of expansion, a renovation or a complete replacement. Buildings for students services have not kept pace with either the jump in the number of students or the increase in the number of academic buildings. The administration must make it a priority to find a solution to this growing problem.