UM officials and student leaders are in the process of gaining support from the student body via a petition and personal testimonials for University Village, scheduled to open in August 2004 and pending final approval from the City of Coral Gables.
“The University has been extremely excited about student reaction to the University Village,” Dr. Pat Whitely, vice-president for student affairs said. “Many student leaders have volunteered to help and approximately 1,000 students have signed the petition so far.”
“The Village plan will help create more of a sense of campus community and will give students more opportunities to enjoy lectures, theater, films and other activities,” Whitely said.
Many students have been showing support of the University Village since the student body became aware of the plans earlier this month.
“In supporting the University Village students are helping to continue building onto the evolution of the University into a truly first-class institution of higher learning,” senior Julio Barroso, student leader, said. “Additionally, such added features as the University Village only serve to make our University more popular to potential students, in turn making our degrees more valuable.”
“If UM is striving to be a top research school and wants to attract people from across the country, it needs to have a place to put those students,” Andrea Wagner, third year law student, said. “It is a great incentive for grad students to come to UM since they spend so much of their time at school doing research and studying.”
“As students we often don’t get the chance to help make such a tremendous contribution to our campus that will benefit generations to come,” Barroso said.
According to Barroso, student government and the student body agreed upon an increase in the student activity fee to help fund the building of the Wellness Center.
“It would be really hard to imagine the campus without the Wellness Center,” Barroso said. “It has truly improved campus life.”
Students can show that they are in support of University Village in several ways.
“I think the students can best show their support for University Village by both informing themselves and other students of the what the project entails, along with writing letters of support to the Coral Gables planning boards,” Alexis Martinez, second year law student, said. “While the petitions also show support, letters allow the planning board to hear more about why the students want and need University Village.”
“One could simply sign a petition, or you can become more involved and come to city meetings to show your support,” senior Mary Clark, student government secretary, said. “Every student needs to know that they are needed and that they have the power to make a difference.”
“There is no action too small,” Clark said.
The new residential community will house 1,091 undergraduate juniors and seniors, graduates and law students in 398 apartments and provide 1,058 on-site parking spaces.
Each apartment will have one, two or four bedrooms and each room will have a private bath for each resident and include a fully furnished living and dining room, a kitchen and a washer and dryer.
Other amenities may include a pool, a fitness room, study areas and computers.
“University Village will allow for hundreds to stay extremely close to campus and also help with the horrific parking problems that we all complain of,” Martinez said. “We all know that housing is a problem for the University; just think about students scrabbling to get roommates and secure their living arrangements every spring.”
Students have been asked to show their support of the University Village by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Messages supporting the Village will be shared with Coral Gables City officials during the public hearing process.
The meetings with the City of Coral Gables have been postponed until December.
For more information contact 305-284-6728 or visit www.miami.edu/universityvillage.
Leigha Taber can be contacted at email@example.com