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THE TIME HAS COME TO VOTE.

Posted by: | May 25, 2010 | 11 Comments |

After weeks and weeks of campaigning, the time has finally come to make this building a reality (or to keep it from being built. Your choice). The one con to this building is the $48 dollar fee increase. Here is a list explaining why this building is necessary and why the $48 would be very, very well spent:

Why do we need this building?

THE PARKING LOT SPACE IS LEAVING, REGARDLESS. IT IS NOT LEAVING BECAUSE OF OUR PROPOSAL, OUR PROPOSAL EXISTS BECAUSE IT IS LEAVING. It has been an OSU master plan dating back to the 80’s to decentralize campus and turn it into a pedestrian campus. We fought for this last year, lost, and now all we can do is make sure we have direct control of what goes in there (you are paying for something to go here whether via tuition fees or student fees, which you control).

You CANNOT “save” the parking lot.

1. When we make a name for Oregon State, we are making a name for our degrees. This building would be making several huge statements for our university. The SEC would be widely published in journals, magazines, and through word of mouth. The University of Oregon gets more publicity than us (for about the same tuition price) because of several projects and changes to their campus like these (and throw in a football incident or two..or three..).

By advancing our campus technologically and socially, you are putting it in the spotlight and making your degree worth more just by people being able to say, “Oh, right! I’ve heard of Oregon State.”

2. The MU’s the oldest and smallest Memorial Union in the west coast. Here is the problem: The Memorial Union was built in 1928 and the last time it was renovated was in 1959, the year that Alaska and Hawaii became states.

It’s structurally designed for a student population of 7,000. We have 20,000+ and growing. In order for our student fees to be effective, we need the usable space to support a large student body.

3. We need the study space. We need the event space. The ballroom is booked out 2 years in advance, and student groups are constantly struggling for meeting space.
With this renovation and building, you will be able to get your work done in advanced technology pockets, no problem, and have the space to do so in large groups, if need be.

4. Giving back to the best thing on campus. Almost everyone on campus loves the Memorial Union. It’s owns almost all of the restaurants on campus, a lot of real estate, and it provides study and event space for the students. The MU was the first student initiative of its kind and it was funded with the knowledge that a lot of the students wouldn’t be around to see the doors open.

This is the kind of drive that is needed to make a change and make OSU a better place. Even if you aren’t around to see the doors open, you are helping a lot of students out and, in turn, making your stay at OSU mean that much more (the more popular a university is, the better it looks to have gone there). We should give back to it.

5. It needs to be done eventually, it’s just a matter of how much you are going to make yourself and the future students pay. It’s a rough time in the economy right now, which also means that the students would actually save money by building now when construction costs and interest rates are at an all time low. For example, if this building were to be built in 2014, it will cost $15 million more in construction and an extra $19 million in interest.

An expansion to support the growing student body needs to happen, and $48 dollars a term is the cheapest we will ever see it for a long time.

6. This is a prime location. The parking lot is leaving, and something is going to be put there. If we pass up on this spot, our location options only expand westward. Imagine having the Memorial Union in the heart of campus, and then having to walk out to Orchard Ave to get to the other student center to study. Kind of defeats the purpose, doesn’t it?

7. This is the best bang for your buck option out there. For the past 5 years, committee members have been searching for a solution. This is cheaper than tearing Snell down and rebuilding.

In comparison, Oregon State is one of the last PAC-10 schools to renovate their student union. Cal Berkeley just passed a $220 million dollar project at student fees reaching up to $361 dollars/semester. We are building something just as cool, but we would only be paying a constant $48 dollars- the cheapest proposal of them all.

48 is the maximum price. This is without alumni donations and foundation gifts, which are currently being sought and a highly likely option. The cost can only go down from here, especially as the population continues to grow at the rate that it has.

8. Student fees are different from the rising tuition fees, and in no way do we support the latter. Student fees are unique in the sense that they give the students the power to say how and where their dollars are spent. You would be a real estate owner of the building, and you would have the opportunity to attend committee meetings to determine what goes inside of it.

9. It would be cool!! The SEC external building would have a PDX-style glass canopy connecting it back to the MU providing the groups with undercover outdoor event space and providing the students a place to hang out, away from the rain.

Imagine walking in, grabbing a coffee from the waste-free restaurant, grabbing a study table on any of the three floors, and being able to look around and see the KBVR DJ working from a glass office across the way. Or imagine being able to grab a quiet corner with a study group and plugging into a technology pocket.

10. The building would be making huge steps forward for OSU that we desperately need to see.
It would not only meet the state ADA ordinances of accessibility, but it would go above and beyond to follow the codes of Universal Design, making it the most accessible building on campus that can be used by all. It would also be LEED Gold certified which means it would be a “green” building, and its sustainability practices would end up saving you money in the long run.

11. This is your chance to leave a legacy. This is the 2nd time this has been done- the 1st being the MU. This could be one of the greatest student initiatives in Oregon State history, and it would be awesome to be able to say that you were a part of it.

If any one of these hit home a little, consider voting YES on the Student Experience Center, Tuesday May 25th-27th. If you read these and still feel that the $48 is too much, exercise your right to vote by voting NO on blackboard, lest this building get passed against your will.
EVERY vote counts, and EVERY vote could make history.

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Signature Update!!

Posted by: | April 29, 2010 | No Comment |

You have probably seen a wide variety of students around campus asking for signatures for the SEC petition. We needed 2,760 signatures, but our ideal goal was 3,000. We needed these signatures by Thursday, April 29th at 5PM. After weeks of scrambling, I finally am here to give you the great news:

We reached our goal and THEN some with 3,021 signatures to turn in. If you signed it or even just took the time to listen to one of the students, thank you so much. This effort could not have been done without your support, and words cannot express how excited the team is to move forward with the campaign of a building that is getting better and better by the day.

It’s not over yet, though. Voting starts next month so keep an eye out for the latest updates! Thanks again!

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Want To Get Involved?

Posted by: | March 1, 2010 | No Comment |

First and foremost, this building is entirely for the students, run by the students, and supported by the students which is why we need YOU to help us achieve this! There is a weekly committee meeting that gets together and discusses marketing strategies and ways to get this campaign in the public eye of the student body.

From now through Spring term, we are looking for a solid group of student volunteers who want to be a part of this campaign to help gather signatures, market the project, and help make a difference on campus.  If you are interested in being part of an exciting project and have 3 or so hours a week of spare time, join the New SAC team!

E-mail us at newstudentcenter@oregonstate.edu with any questions or interests.

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Let’s get to the basics:

What is this “Student Experience Center”?
In 2013, the bookstore’s lease is up, and they are currently exploring other location options. The paid-parking lot next to the Memorial Union  is set to be removed from campus as well. This is happening regardless of our proposal.

The Student Experience Center is a proposed 3 story building that will be built in place of the paid parking lot. In addition to a new building, the bookstore space will be renovated as a multi-purpose room for events and activities. These two buildings will be connected with a one-of-a-kind glass canopy that will keep students dry for outdoor activities (no more standing in the rain in the middle of the quad while the wind blows over your tent!). You’ll walk in to see a tall glass atrium with places to study and eat and additional conference rooms.

The building will be green and sustainable which will cut down your costs in the long run. We’re aiming to be LEED Gold certified.

All kinds of student activities will get an upgrade and be moved to the new, innovative building (Barometer, Greek Life, ASOSU, KBVR, etc).

Can we prevent the bookstore from moving? Can we save the parking lot?
No. There is nothing we can do to keep the bookstore where it is or save the parking lot. OSU’s initiative is to create a pedestrian campus. All we can do is make sure those spaces become something awesome for students instead of something we don’t want.

Plus, the bookstore moving could be a good thing! If they move somewhere with more retail parking and better access to Beaver fans then they will sell more merchandise, which is their main source of income. If they are able to sell more hats and hoodies, that means higher discounts on text books.

What’s wrong with the MU the way it is?
The last time the MU was expanded was in 1959 (we’re talking about the year that Alaska and Hawaii became states). At that point, OSU enrollment was 7,676. We see twice that amount just at Battle of the Bands in the quad. To put it in comparison, the U of O has a smaller enrollment than OSU does, but their student center is 20% larger.

There isn’t an older or smaller (compared to student body) student union building on the west coast. With this New Student Activity Center, not only would our programs thrive, our campus would have a new, technologically advanced student building.

Why can’t the student programs just stay where they are?
Snell Hall, which houses all those programs, is in terrible shape. The building is over 50 years old, and it was originally built to be a dorm. That means not only is it structurally unsound (some engineers think a strong wind would be enough to knock it down), it is also terrible inefficient. Let’s not even go into the leaking, mold, and everything else. The high-rise portion is being demolished (it’s just too unsafe to leave up) which will displace a ton of student programs. Are we going to let the campus get worse for us? Let’s make it better, instead.

Why not just renovate Snell?
For about the same price as renovating such a terrible building (no offense, Snell), we could just build a new, more innovative one.

What’s the cost?
Right now, we’re looking at $48 per student per term to build a whole new building, renovate the bookstore space, and build a glass awning over the space between. Fundraising options are being explored, and we hope to push it down to around $42.

This is extremely efficient for a project of this magnitude. Students at UC Irvine are paying over $130 for a similar project, and students at WSU are paying $120 just to renovate their current building. We have an opportunity to bring our MU out of the distant past and into the future.

Why are we paying? Shouldn’t the university pay?
The state legislature defines what sorts of buildings can be built with taxpayer money. Basically, only purely academic buildings can come out of that fund, so everything else has to come from student fees.

We’re in a recession, isn’t this bad timing?
Actually, this is our golden opportunity. If something must be put there eventually, now is the time. Check it out:

  • The bookstore is leaving. If we pass a referendum right now, we can have that space.
  • The parking lot by the MU is going away. If we pass a referendum right now, we get that space too.
  • Since we can get both, we can build a cool glass awning in between them to have some covered outdoor area.
  • Because of the economic situation, interest rates on construction bonds are extremely low. In addition, construction materials’ costs are way down. Steel and asphalt, for example, are both considerably cheaper than they should be.

All in all, if we do this right now, we can get prime real estate and construct for cheaper. If we don’t, then who knows what will be done with that space and who knows what you will be paying for. Plus, when we actually do get a new student building, it’ll be who-knows-where. Schools across the Pac-10 are getting similar renovations to their student unions, but their students are paying in the $100-200 range. This is the best bang for your buck option out there.

More Questions? Want more answers? Let us know.

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