September 16, 2009
By Laurel Bollinger
Public Affairs Reporter
According to the most recent draft of the Campus Master Plan, the
Student Union building will be located between the PAC and Brookens
Library. Student Government and Student Affairs representatives are in
the process of forming a committee to discuss the feasability of a new
Photo courtesy of Univeristy of Illinois Springfield
“In the 3 years that I’ve been here I haven’t heard anybody really mention it. It’s just something that I thought of and felt was really important.”
Senior Student Trustee Derek Felix has spent the past several months gathering information and support in making the possibility of a student union a reality.
“It means so much to me to have a student union because we really need a place on campus that the students can go to and play games and hang out with friends.”
Tim Barnett, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, is also on board and believes that a student union would do several things for UIS. “It would be the living room of the campus,” he said. “Usually student unions have meeting rooms and a large ballroom and in many cases clubs and organizations can have their weekly meetings there.”
He also said that it would provide a more central location for UIS Student Affairs. “Right now many of the student services are kind of out of the way from most of the flow of traffic. It has to be an intentional decision to go down that way,” said Barnett.
However, both Barnett and Felix realize that many things need to be done in order to push this initiative forward. An extremely important factor is student support. Felix is hoping to talk to students and gather information through a survey of what they want and what services they would like.
“I want as much student feedback as possible because it is going to be purely a student building. By students for students,” said Felix.
To further the process along, Felix is working on hiring an outside contractor to put together a layout and cost proposal in hopes that this will also generate more student and faculty enthusiasm.
Barnett adds that it is important for the University to realize the scope of the project as well as what they can afford according to what the students are willing to fund. Right now the building is tentatively planned to be between PAC and Brookens library but Dr. Barnett said that doesn’t mean it would be the final place.
Felix thinks that ultimately a student union would be an important asset to the University.
“It should be a place that could also brings more students to campus you know? A new beautiful student union will be a good recruitment tool as well," said Felix. "I just feel that it is important for our school, for our future really.”