The Marvin Center Governing Board doled out office space Monday for student groups to use this summer while the Marvin Center’s fourth floor is closed for renovations.
Mike Gargano, assistant vice president for Student and Academic Support Services, and MCGB Chair Mike Petron held a meeting Monday with representatives of student groups that occupy offices on the fourth floor.
“We want to accommodate student groups in the best way possible,” Gargano said after the meeting. “Twenty-eight out of 35 student groups were represented here tonight, and that’s a good start.”
The offices will be cleared out May 17. Fourth-floor renovations are scheduled to begin June 2, Gargano said.
Gargano stressed the need for all student group members to clean their offices, pack their personal belongings and organize their files during the next five weeks. Each organization will maintain one file cabinet in a room with limited access during the summer.
Most of the offices will be housed on the second floor in a communal space, which will include about 15 desks with several computers, printers, fax machines and phones equipped with voice mail, Gargano said.
The Student Association, Program Board, Cherry Tree and MCGB will share space, desks, computers and personal phones in an office separate from other student groups.
Some representatives of student groups said they are displeased with the summer arrangements.
Alan Elias, president-elect of the Residence Hall Association, said he is concerned the RHA will not have office space but said he remains confident in Gargano and Petron’s promises.
“I am going to go through the proper channels to make sure the RHA gets more space,” Elias said. “With our current situation, we would be hindered tremendously.”
Student Association President-elect Phil Meisner also voiced concerns that the SA will not have enough space this summer.
“I have initiatives that can’t be planned over a cup of coffee at Au Bon Pain,” Meisner said. “It’s an unacceptable situation at this point, and I think that’s the situation for all the chartered groups. Some other agreement, I hope, can be reached.”
Petron said MCGB had no other choice but to force groups to share facilities.
“We can’t just allocate space like that over the summer,” Petron said. “Communal space was the only way to go.”
Petron said few student groups are active during the summer.
Gargano said the Marvin Center renovations require flexibility.
“We have to rethink the way we do business,” Gargano said. “Meeting space for the next two and a half years will be hard to come by. It’s going to take a lot of patience.”
Meisner said student life is being choked by the summer arrangements.
“Students pay a fee for an active student life,” he said. “It’s not fair to them to have the main student groups stunted. For example, the College Republicans are very active this year. How can they achieve things this summer?”
CR Chair Jared Hosid said he is not worried about the communal summer space.
“I don’t expect the CRs to have special treatment,” he said. “The things we do during the summer don’t really necessitate a large office space.”
Gargano said the fourth floor renovations should be complete by Aug. 17. He said he does not think the communal space will impact on student group output.
“What is eight weeks in GW time?” Meisner said. “If, God forbid, there are delays, will we be expected to work out of a communal office next year?”
“It’s going to be tough,” Hosid said. “Still, I really believe that Mike Gargano and Mike Petron are doing everything they can.”
Gargano said the current plans are “the best so far,” adding the new space will be “beautiful” when the project is completed.
Gargano said the renovations will include new ceilings and carpeting, wiring for updated technology, and a redesigned lobby that will showcase student artwork and awards.
“We want to send a message that this is the hub of student life,” he said.