Student Association fights for more student space

Student Association leaders are bringing another petition to administrators’ desks, after they rejected parts of a proposal for increased student space last fall.

SA President Ashwin Narla and Executive Vice President Abby Bergren are reviving the largest part of their fall plan – turning the Marvin Center’s third floor terrace into student space within five years.

The document also asks that students are included in conversations about GW’s newest residence hall, which will undergo construction between H and I streets starting this summer.

“Student space has been an issue for a number of years. It’s definitely necessary, and there is the expectation, but this is a huge hill to climb,” Narla said. “If you look at [the terrace] now, it is dead space in the winter time. We need a space that makes sense for the student body.”

It does not outline an exact design for the 45,000 square foot terrace, but it provides ideas like student lounge areas and meeting rooms in the three floors that can be built onto the outdoor patio.

Narla wants the University to start the project following major works in progress like the $275 million Science and Engineering Hall and the $130 million superdorm. The 2006 campus plan offered “an addition to the Marvin Center (above the existing Betts Theatre)…to address the growing demand for student activity and support space.”

The student space debate, which arose after the close of the Fishbowl and the Hippodrome in the last two years, has driven lobbying in the SA for the past two years. Narla and Bergren’s first proposal extended study hours in Duques and Funger halls until 2 a.m. opened seven conference rooms in the Marvin Center for student group meetings.

The SA’s plan will utilize research from similar schools like Tulane, New York and Boston universities, as in the last proposal.

It will again be sent to University President Steven Knapp, Executive Vice President and Treasurer Lou Katz, Provost Steven Lerman, Senior Associate Provost and Dean of Student Affairs Peter Konwerski and Senior Associate Vice President for Operations Alicia Knight.

University spokeswoman Michelle Sherrard responded with a statement based on input from Konwerski, Knight and Assistant Vice President for Events and Venues Michael Peller, and said the University will be “happy to review and discuss” the proposal.

“We continually work with student leaders to make improvements to the student experience on our campuses,” Sherrard wrote in an email.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.