Staff Editorial: A future for fourth floor student space

The hallmark student issue of this year has been student space.

The issue started with the closing of the Fishbowl in September and has continued to plague Colonials as they cram themselves into Columbian Square and overheat in the Gelman stacks.

The Marvin Center Governing Board and the Student Association have been calling for a space for students throughout the year. First they started with a grandiose plan to have a student space on the fifth floor of the Marvin Center. When it was determined that the fifth floor would become office space, students lobbied for $1 million to renovate the fourth floor. Now, the current plan asks for a quarter of the original sum to make smaller changes to the fourth floor.

But moving forward with the current renovations would compromise the ability to create a lasting plan beneficial to all students.

What the University needs to fund is a long term approach, allowing for the administration and student leaders to craft a solution that will ultimately be best for everyone involved.

It is unrealistic to suggest that the University should provide immediate funding for the fourth floor due to the current construction on the fifth floor. But a long-term solution would be a viable and realistic method to provide the necessary funding for fourth floor renovations.

This would allow the University to budget a multi-year process that would ease the pressure on the administration to find a quick financial solution.

Students should be excited that the University will be able to vacate the Center for Student Engagement offices in order to provide an additional area for the community. The administration must recognize that students need to have the ability to make long-term changes to have the fourth floor best suit their needs.

And that is where the funding comes in.

Creating a long-term solution would also allow student leaders to create a more comprehensive plan that would involve a wide-range of organizations and students, establishing a future for the fourth-floor that would best represent the needs of the entire student body.

The student body is often scattered across campus, gathering at the bustling Starbucks or the uninviting Ivory Tower basement. None of these places can act as a go-to, singular student union.

How can students feel like true Colonials when they have no centralized space to gather?

That's why the future of the Marvin Center fourth floor is so critical.

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