by Sonja Szlovicsak (Editor-in-Chief)
It’s really unfortunate that the student building has been put on hold.
Obviously, after having contributed to the SUB fund for a few years, I was eager for construction to begin.
However, when I came on as editor-in-chief of The Cascade, my eagerness was replaced by wariness. The previous SUS board talked about charging The Cascade for space in the building; the university’s officials told us we were moving from our current office into the new building. This would have been a horrible plan because The Cascade runs on a very tight budget as it is. To add rent to that budget would result in either a fee increase and less issues in a year or a much smaller paper. After researching how other university newspapers fared in student buildings when forced to pay rent, I became convinced that this was a very, very bad idea.
Time changes many things, including opinions and SUS boards.
The current SUS board unveiled the plans for the SUV at their annual general meeting last Friday. It’s very unfortunate that the big reveal was followed by the announcement that the building has been put on hold. The plans look good. There’s plenty of study space for students, Casey’s finally has the space and kitchen it deserves, and there a lot of “hang out” spots for students. This building has the potenital to be what this university needs: a place for students to congregate.
But right now is bad timing. The university was going to use the money from the sale of land in Chilliwak to fund their part of the SUB. The land hasn’t sold yet, so the SUS doesn’t have all the money they need in place to begin construction. And the provincial government won’t allow UFV to take out a loan to cover their portion of the costs because this loan would be a debt on the provincial books.
We all know the budgets at UFV are very tight right now; the university is filled to over capacity. The university did all they could and more to help this building get going. But once again, the dreaded lack of government funding has reared its ugly head.
I feel very sorry for the administrators at this institution. UFV is a university with too little funding, too many students and no student life. Attempts to correct some of these problems don’t seem to get much help from the provincial government.
Hopefully, the SUS will find an alternative source of funding so this project can get going. As enrollment increases, space on campus is going to decrease. Stucents need a place to call their own and relax between classes. Students need a student building.