Next fall, the University plans to provide late-night programming on weekends from midnight to 2 a.m., filling a much-needed gap in UP's student life.
But there are no places on campus students want to hang out together on the weekends.
UP is in dire need of a new student center.
To create such a space, UP should consider remodeling the Pilot House - perhaps adding a second floor.
This could serve as more than just a weekend space, which is not the only aspect of student life UP is lacking.
St. Mary's Student Center is rarely used for club events or as a place for students to just relax and socialize. You can venture into St. Mary's any time most days and find students bent over textbooks or stretched out on the couches taking a nap between classes.
Tour guides do not bring tours inside St. Mary's for a reason - it is a sad excuse for a student center.
St. Mary's is a rundown building with inconsistent heating and cooling and dirty, old bathrooms.
The Commons is the liveliest hub of student activity on campus, but its purpose is for meals and it is not sufficient as a student center.
According to the UP website, there are 74 clubs on campus recognized by the University, but you can't find them when walking around campus.
These clubs need a place to be visible, hold events and meet. A place where students can actually come and go, socialize with friends and not feel like they are in a library.
A new student center could include a coffee cart and different stations where clubs could have a home base at certain times of the day. There could be regular events hosted by KDUP DJs where students could come and go. Clubs could book the space regularly for their own events.
A lively student center would actively engage students in student life. It would help students want to be on campus and want to be involved.
And yet, there is no mention of plans for a new student center, or a remodeling of the current one, anywhere in the Strategic Plan for the University for 2011-2016.
Funding a project like remodeling and adding on to the Pilot House would be expensive and take time. But it is something that needs to be prioritized along with UP's RISE campaign projects such as the new recreation center and library.
UP strives to be a community, yet there is no lively student center for all the members of this community to gather.
Having a weekend lounge space or a bar, a couple of the many ideas for next year's late-night programming, could help UP attract students to campus on the weekends. Offering fun on-campus options for nightlife would give students somewhere to go on the weekends that is close to home and safe.
But next year's plans to engage students on the weekends need to also include engaging students all the time by funding a vibrant student center that is the hub of student life on campus - not a place to study and sleep.
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