Students using Marvin Center less, private companies using it more as a percentage of total use

The Marvin Center has been used less for student organization functions and more for non-University events in percentage terms over the course of the last seven years, according to a report obtained by The Hatchet.

The report, titled, “Executive Summary 2004: Marvin Center and University Conferences,” was distributed to members of the Board of Trustees and outlines the use of Marvin Center space over a seven-year period.

The report shows that in 1998-1999, the events held in the Marvin Center by student organizations comprised 40.3 percent of all activities, but by 2004-2005 that percentage had fallen to 33 percent. In the same time period, the percentage of events by non-University groups increased from 4.7 percent in 1998-1999 to 12.9 percent in 2004-2005.

The report states that 3,000 to 4,000 requests for space in the Marvin Center are left unfulfilled. Those figures include both student and non-student requests.

Despite the decrease in the percentage of activities held by student organizations in the Marvin Center, the overall number of activities in the 22nd and H streets venue has increased. In 1999-2000, more than 6,660 events were held in the Marvin Center, and in 2004-2005, the center held 15,184 events, according to the report.

The report states that increases in the number of activities held in the Marvin Center can be partly attributed to sales and marketing efforts by the University in 2004.

“While these statistics indicate a decrease in the percentage of events held by student organizations, in fact, when compared in actual number of events, the number of student organizations has increased in each of the past four years although the percentage has decreased,” the report said.

The report also shows a substantial increase in the number of activities held during the school year after 7 p.m., when the Marvin Center has its highest occupancy rates. Of student organizations’ requests for meeting space in the Marvin Center during the weekdays, 97 to 98 percent of those requests are for after 7 p.m., said Danielle Lico, associate director for University conferences and scheduling sales marketing.

“(T)he increase in the number of student organizations from year to year seeking meeting spaces in the evenings, has resulted in increased competition for a finite number of meetings spaces,” the report said.

Michael Peller, managing director of the Marvin Center and University Conferences, told The Hatchet that the allotment of space is based on a first-come, first-serve system and that space was not allotted on a “revenue-generation mode.” Neither non-University organizations nor non-student University organizations are given preference for reserving space in the Marvin Center, Peller said.

“The number of activities by non-University organizations is such a small piece of the equation that there is no great impact,” Peller said.

The Marvin Center’s Web site shows that non-University groups such as AT&T, Kaplan and Nextel are among the Marvin Center’s clients.

Marvin Center officials said student groups’ space crunch can be attributed to the more than 400 student organizations who request space there.

“It is not because Marvin Center scheduling is putting student organization to the wayside and choosing conferences,” said junior Charlie Leizear, vice chairman of the student-run Marvin Center Governing Board. “It’s because there are so many student organizations, student organizations are actually competing against each other for space.”

The Marvin Center provides the use of 40 offices on the fourth floor to student organizations.

“I would love to see the day that we could actually get the majority of our events on the exact date and time we plan to hold them,” said senior Katherine Hild, the editor-in-chief of Wooden Teeth Literary Magazine.

-Brandon Butler contributed to this report.

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