If you have been on campus at all this summer you no doubt have noticed a bit more dust and a lot more construction on campus. The Abel/Sandoz renovations, the Physical Sciences Building, the new astro turf fields behind Henzlik and soon, breaking ground in September, the Culture Center next to the Union.
The only project to not be funded almost solely by student fees is the new Physical Sciences building, funded by the Unicameral. (Housing is a department independent of of state funding so it passes its costs on to the students in room and board… essentially a student fee increase) While we appreciate the Unicameral’s generosity of the Physical Sciences building one must and should ask why so many student “life” building projects such as the rec fields, Culture Center* and these proposed major renovations to the Rec itself, are funded almost solely by student fees?
Granted, while high tech and modern academic buildings are important to attracting students. It is only half of the equation for attracting students to campus, so are important student facilities such as the Rec center and Nebraska Union (Culture Center). Should these projects be funded almost solely by student fees with no support from the state?
It also remains to be seen how much the large expansion to the Nebraska Union called the Culture Center will actually be dedicated to culture center activities, or whether a large amount of its space will be used for just general space, such as “Volleyball Club” organizational meetings…. Something that is also in serious need as popular meeting nights fills up all available space in the Nebraska Union.
Regardless, it is a step in the right direction to have a large Culture Center built on campus.
The University has done a great job attracting and recruiting students. It would be wise not scare them away with soaring student fees and little state support for the many facilities that attract them.
*While a large sum of money was donated to the culture center, it will still result in a significant student fee increase.