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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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11 Comments

  1. By: Matthew Puglisi on May 26, 2010 at 7:50 am      

    As a student I am adamantly opposed to this campaign. I think we need to fight to keep the metered parking lot at the bookstore. It is centrally located, and if all other parking and interior roads go, this one at least should stay. It would make it significantly more inconvenient to buy textbooks.

  2. By: Charles on May 26, 2010 at 2:14 pm      

    Why can’t the student building fee pool that we already pay into be used?

  3. By: Tiffany on May 26, 2010 at 3:02 pm      

    Matthew,

    The fight for this lot happened last year. It is a “master plan” of OSU’s campus to decentralize all parking and turn it into a green, pedestrian campus.

    We lost this fight last year so now we are just trying to control what goes in this space (we are paying for something to go there either indirectly in tuition fees or directly in student fees).

    I understand your concern to keep the parking lot, but before you tell people to vote no, be aware: THE LOT IS LEAVING NO MATTER WHAT. It’s not leaving because of our building, our building is proposed because it is leaving.

  4. By: Matthew Puglisi on May 26, 2010 at 10:21 pm      

    I concede to that fact. I just learned of that. It’s still ridiculous for the university to just do whatever they want. I hate the fact that they run it like a business rather than an educational institution.

    Anyway, I stand by the argument against raising the fees. I gave a breakdown of how the amount they propose to raise those fees are grossly disproportionate to the amount needed to fund the building and its maintenance, etc. Find my argument here:
    http://www.facebook.com/#!/event.php?eid=125569654126498

  5. By: T on May 26, 2010 at 10:23 pm      

    Student fees are very specific. Every dollar, or the “pool”, that you are paying in student fees is already going towards an allotted cause. They do not ask for more than is needed which means there isn’t any extra.

    We are telling students 48 because that is the maximum price, but we are a shoe-in for foundation gift money which will cover 10% of the building cost, making the likely price $42. From there, we are seeking alumni support, and the cost will decrease as the student population increases.

  6. By: J on May 26, 2010 at 10:28 pm      

    “It’s still ridiculous for the university to just do whatever they want. ”

    This is why we are trying to gain control as a student body. We will have committee meetings telling the architects how we want this built, specifying fee allocations, etc. Otherwise, the university WILL put something else there.

    All of the other parking lots were recently torn down (Milam parking lot, Sackett parking lot), did you get a say of what went there? Were you even made aware that they are currently building something there with your tuition money?

    And, in regards to Matthew’s argument about the fee collection actually exceeding 42 million, that is inaccurate. F bonds issued by the state come with a set time period of 30 years, we did not choose this.

    42 million dollars is the largest price you will see from this building. Once the payments are made (as Matthew pointed out, in far less than 30 years), fee collection stops. As the population rises, the fee decreases per student and the payment end-date nears closer.

    As far as pinning this cost on future students, some other PAC-10 renovations have incorporated an inflation prediction fee meaning the price rises in proportion with inflation (the Cal-Berkely students will be paying $361 dollars/term eventually). A set $48 will gradually lose its value in inflation over time, this is actually the fairest pricing method for the future students.

    Matthew is correct in saying that there will be a student fee increase. Be aware that you will be paying a maximum of $48 a term for this building starting Fall 2011. This is what you are voting on.

  7. By: Matthew Puglisi on May 26, 2010 at 10:49 pm      

    Ok… then I would recommend that the information posted on all forums (blogs, facebook, the MU website, etc) need to be uniform and in agreement with each other. It destroys credibility when there is conflicting information. I based my calculations off the information provided and cited my sources. I’m not out to hurt anyone here, only to look out for the best interests of the students, even if I will not be here.

    Also on that note, does it not seem rather unfair to be financing this building beginning in 2011 when in fact it will not even be completed for the students’ enjoyment until 2014 was it? Anyway, that amounts to several hundred extra dollars for students who won’t even get the benefit of the building, and I’m just saying, it’s not fair to them.

    Cheers!

  8. By: Tiffany on May 26, 2010 at 11:07 pm      

    Matthew,

    Let me just say, with the information you were given and the lack of explanation of how state bonds work, you had valid points. The lack of understanding is not your fault at all (we had to be trained on F bonds ourselves), it would rest with our group..and I fully agree that any confusion goes back to the information distributors.

    That being said, this is run by students and not university employees, the two students spear-heading this had class to attend as well :). We apologize for not providing as much info. as required and commend you for taking the time to hunt for the right solution.

    And, lastly- in the way that all university initiatives go, students make the sacrifice to build things (MU, Dixon, etc) with the knowledge that they won’t see it. New buildings, student funded or not, take a while to be built. This is just your personal willingness to look out for the better interest of others and give back to campus. This is how campus progresses, and this is how your degree from OSU gains worth.

    We were required to ask that money be collected 2 years prior to doors opening to get a bid for construction. With the circumstances, we tried to make it as easy on the students as possible. Ultimately, it is up to the students to decide, which is the beauty of this process.

    Have a good rest of the term! Thanks for your involvement. : )

  9. By: Matthew Puglisi on May 29, 2010 at 8:47 pm      

    Thanks Tiffany. I can understand if this is what the students want. I just wish the information as to cost would have been a bit better. If these committees are going to claim that they are really working in our better interest, they should back that up with numbers and other evidence.

    Anyway, enough of that. Anyone know the final verdict?

  10. By: Tiffany on May 30, 2010 at 9:20 am      

    Noted. At the time, we found students only wanted to hear the maximum building price (42 mill.) and how much they would have to pay for term. Had someone asked, we would have put more thought into providing it.

    If you would like a term by term/year by year/ estimate of cost, net revenue, and estimated payment period, I’d be more than willing to give it to you now.

    As far as the verdict: it passed with 2,056 “yes” votes to 809 “no” votes.

  11. By: Matthew Puglisi on May 30, 2010 at 5:02 pm      

    Sounds good, but don’t do it on my behalf. Like I said, I graduate Spring 2011 before the new fees hit so it won’t affect me anyway.

    It might be nice for the benefit of the rest of the students to have access to that information though. Thank you Tiffany for your dedication to this.

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