The Campus Commons was finally finished this semester with the opening of Scharbauer Hall. The new facilities make the heart of our campus look much better and give TCU the feel of a truly world-class university. The number of places for students to gather and the number of services provided to students have increased greatly from what we had just two years ago at the old student center.
During the recent snow day, I remember thinking how beautiful the BLUU looked. The Campus Commons provides a great place to be remembered as the center of campus. The widespread grass fields, multiple seating areas, amphitheater, auditorium, union, Frog Fountain and plaza provide plenty of areas where school spirit and community can be fostered constantly.
But we, the students, and the administration are failing to utilize the Campus Commons to its full potential. It is currently a little difficult for student organizations to put on the events they would like to see in the Commons. Serving only Sodexo food on the union grounds discourages a lot of student organizations from programming at such a central campus location. An easy way for student organizations to lure students to their events is by offering food incentives. The administration should try to take action by encouraging student involvement in the Commons. If the student organizations were trying to make a profit from the food they provided, I would understand the current regulation, but that is not the case.
A problem the union staff and student volunteers face on a daily basis is a lack of student participation in campus activities. As students, we all pay $24 every semester to fund student programming activities. If we would like to see different events on campus in order to participate in them, we should communicate what things would interest us so that staff members and volunteers can better cater to our needs as students and enhance the overall university experience.
I hope students become aware of the new services and meeting places provided by the new Campus Commons and begin to utilize them more. I understand the facilities are very new, and the administration is still learning how to manage them to provide students with the best experience possible. In the future, I trust there will be more student-friendly procedures to encourage student participation in the commons.
The Campus Commons should eventually be home to university traditions and a place for students to create lasting memories of their college experience.
Student Body President Marlon Figueroa is a junior finance and accounting major from San Juan, Puerto Rico. His column runs every other Thursday.