There are over 50 student-run clubs on campus, most of which meet at least once a week. These clubs not only provide students with an avenue to make friends and connect with their peers, but also to pursue their passions and in some cases, build valuable work experience.
In other words, clubs are almost as vital to a college student’s education as their classes.
This is why the lack of space on campus dedicated to clubs is so detrimental to FSU students. While there are many classrooms that can be booked through the often confusing and not always up-to-date 25live website, there are only two club rooms which are available to be reserved exclusively for clubs.
Additionally, there are only three venues on campus in which clubs can hold events – the Alumni Room, the McCarthy Center Forum and DPAC. These venues are often used by administrators, academic departments and outside groups as well. These users are given higher priority, which makes it even harder for clubs to reserve these rooms on their preferred days.
We at The Gatepost believe it is high time the administration and Board of Trustees recognize the value of our student clubs and invest in more space for them. The need for additional club space is something The Gatepost has editorialized about for over a decade, and while club life has continued to expand and grow, administrators have continued to turn a blind eye to the issue.
Any improvements that have been made to the existing club spaces have been made by SGA. Not only did SGA purchase new furniture for Club Room 1, but they also revamped and rededicated the Paul T. Murphy Room.
These renovations are certainly a good first step. Now, its up to administrators to step up and dedicate additional rooms to club use.
There have been plenty of opportunities for the University to expand club space with the construction of Hemenway Labs and West Hall, as well as the renovation of O’Connor Hall. While it is true space is limited on campus, additional rooms for clubs and events easily could have been built into O’Connor hall while it was being renovated.
There are many options administrators and the Board of Trustees must consider for student clubs.
The easiest and cheapest option would be to dedicate the entire fourth floor of the McCarthy Center to student clubs. On the fourth floor, there is currently the SGA office, SUAB office, WDJM radio station, The Gatepost newsroom, two club rooms, three classrooms and The Career Services Office.
If it seems as if a few of these rooms are not like the others, that’s because they’re not. Classrooms and Career Services don’t belong on a student-centered floor. Career Services should be on the fifth floor, alongside other student services such as the Registrar and the Dean of Students’ office.
We at The Gatepost suggest the three classrooms be turned into club rooms, complete with new furniture and locker space. Additionally, Career Services and SILD should switch offices, so that SILD is more accessible to the clubs that need them.
A whole floor dedicated to student clubs is not a revolutionary concept. Several universities – including Boston University, the University of Wisconsin and Kansas State University – have invested in “student unions,” – buildings which are solely meant to be the hub of student activity and contain offices and rooms dedicated to student clubs.
Providing clubs with a space that is entirely their own not only gives them the space they need to succeed, but it promotes student involvement as well. When students are part of a club, they are more likely to get involved in other areas of campus as well.
If the administration and Board of Trustees truly value FSU clubs and the work they do, they will invest in more space for them.