One of the first things new FSU students notice about Framingham State is the lack of activity on campus during the weekends. While there may be the occasional comedian here, or student-produced play there, FSU has largely ignored the needs of students on the weekends.
We at The Gatepost believe FSU administrators should start thinking about how to entertain and engage students on the weekends. A more active social scene on the weekends may improve enrollment and retention rates.
One of the simpler solutions to this problem would be keeping campus restaurants and cafes such as Toasted, Starbucks and the snack bar open during the weekends, especially at night. Many food stops on campus are either closed or have reduced hours on the weekend, so buying a cup of coffee or a sandwich can be a challenge.
Even the dining commons have reduced hours on the weekend. How can administrators expect students to stick around if there is no way for them to feed themselves on campus?
FSU could also invest in a completely new restaurant/lounge for students on campus – one that would stay open every weekend night. In addition to serving food to students, which could be paid for with RAMcash and dining dollars, the lounge could include pool tables, T.V.s to watch sports games and a stage for open mic nights, musicians and other performers.
Many students head home on the weekends to work as well, and a new campus restaurant would create more jobs for students on campus.
Currently, there are only a few spots where students can congregate on campus – the commuter dining area, Sandellas, the Game Room and their residence halls.
One could argue there is plenty for students to do off-campus between the AMC Movie Theater and the Natick Mall. However, these activities costs students money and there are only so many nights students can spend in the shopping district.
A new lounge would not only provide a new spot to hang out and socialize for FSU students, but also a new place for FSU clubs, organizations and departments to hold more events.
Administrators could also move some of the events held during the week to Saturday and Sunday nights, such as outdoor movie nights, Bingo nights and casino nights.
It is not simply all on the administrators to create this social environment on the weekends, though. Students need to stay and show they would be interested in these events. They need to demand longer hours for campus restaurants and coffee shops, more student space and more weekend events.
Student-run clubs and organizations could also lend a huge hand in engaging students on the weekends. By holding more events on the weekends, or moving some of their regularly scheduled ones to a Saturday or Sunday, they would be providing FSU students with more activities on the weekends, and more reasons to stay.
It is contingent on FSU students to show they will take advantage of events and extended services on the weekends, and we at The Gatepost hope administrators will take notice and take action.