A 42-inch plasma television will replace the message board located at the H Street entrance to the Marvin Center within the next week.
Student organizations and the University will use the television to promote events and programming around campus. The television cost the Marvin Center about $4,000, officials said.
The Student Association, led by SA President Kris Hart, proposed the idea of installing a plasma television in a central location on campus earlier this fall.
“The University was not getting information across the entire student body,” Hart said. “It is a good way to build community here and get more people informed.”
Helen Cannaday-Saulny, assistant vice president for Student and Academic Support Services, said the new television will enhance current methods of communicating and advertising student events than the current board – a black screen with red lit-up letters.
“The current message board is relatively small, limiting the amount of space for detailed information and making it difficult for students to read,” Cannaday-Saulny said. “The new plasma TV will allow us to scan in posters and display information in better quality and projection.”
Currently, no pictures are displayed on the board.
“I would think it would be an added advantage for organizations to use it,” Cannaday-Saulny said. “It could be very helpful for student organizations with smaller budgets, another medium for advertising their events.”
Hart said he discussed the issue with Senior Vice President for SASS Robert Chernak, who lobbied Marvin Center officials to get the television.
“When we first heard about it, we thought it would was a good idea,” said Michael Peller, managing director of the Marvin Center and University Conferences. “This is an easy and efficient way for the University to put out pieces of important information for the student body.”
Peller said details on messages or how groups could submit information have yet to be determined. He said he is hoping to post things that would “appeal to the greater community” and not just weekly meetings.
Several students said while they think the TV it will attract more attention, they are unhappy with the cost.
“I’ve never looked at the old message board, but maybe I’ll look at this because it’s a big TV,” junior Graham Long said. “But I think the University could put $4,000 to a better use, especially since they already have a message board there.”
“I don’t really care if the University puts in a new TV, but I think spending $4,000 on that is insane,” sophomore Colleen McCauley said. “How much does a TV and a screw cost?”
The Marvin Center will not be the only GW venue with a plasma television. The GW Law School has three televisions, two of which were installed this year.
“Their purpose is to provide real-time information on current events and Law School information,” said Thomas Morrison, Law School associate dean for Administrative Affairs.
The Law School televisions display class cancellations, reminder announcements and news, weather, time and stock market updates.
Peller said specific plans for the Marvin Center television have not been finalized but may include similar features.
Morrison said the Law School’s plasma televisions cost about $7,500 each and were a good investment.” Communication among students and the school is very important, and this offers an attractive and efficient way of doing so.”
Peter Konwerski, special assistant to the senior vice president of SASS and executive director of Administrative Partnerships, said plasma televisions have become popular on campus because of their versatility.
“They have multiple display functions that the University can use,” he said. “Their smaller size allows them to be placed in high traffic areas, and they fit in with the setting.”
Hart said there are no plans to install similar plasma televisions anywhere else on campus but he looks forward to hearing student response on the Marvin Center television.
“We are really interested to see how this turns out,” Hart said. “Hopefully we can get more people involved and build a stronger community.”