Student Center is a necessary upgrade

From March 27 to 30, students will have the opportunity to shape the future of UM. A referendum will ask students whether they would approve a $150 hike in student activity fees starting in 2009 as a way of funding nearly half the cost (UM would cover approximately about $50 million) of a proposed beefed-up University Center. In an effort to mirror its success with the construction of the Wellness Center, UM would complete the first phase of the project-a multi-story student activities center-by 2009, serving as added motivation to the student body that they won’t be paying for something they won’t be there to enjoy.

Sandwiched between the UNICCO struggle and spring break, the student referendum has not gotten the publicity that it deserves. You need look no further than the “Frequently Asked Questions” section of the Student Center Referendum to see that the first FAQ is

“Why should I care about this?” (The third question listed, for concerned alcohol aficionados, is “What is going to happen to the Rathskeller?”) Apparently, there is some truth to humor, and humor to truth.

The reason we should care is simple: UM stands to be improved. Among the many needed improvements are a banquet hall that student organizations would be able to use free-of-cost, new office space for a variety of student organizations (shameless plug: a new Hurricane office is among them) and retail space, which UM has been sorely lacking with the exception of the bazaar-like breezeway. What’s more, UM is actively researching student suggestions for other possible additions to the UC/SAC, an excellent opportunity to let the school know what REALLY needs to be done.

The way we see it, the new UC is a must. There’s no reason not to support the improvements proposed. Well, one exception: With the recent spike in student activism around campus, someone is bound to take a stand for the Rat.