Student organizations running into problems reserving space on campus

NSU students, particularly those involved as members or in executive positions in organizations, have expressed their concern over the space available for reservation to hold events, activities and meetings on campus.

Due to limited room availability at certain times in the day, some organizations have had trouble finding space when they requested it.

Alex Lopez, president of the Undergraduate Student Government Association (USGA), said that this concern is not particularly new.

“We actually presented this issue to President Hanbury and Dean Williams at our semesterly dinner with them,” said Lopez. “It was also brought up at the town hall. Dean Williams even said [to President Hanbury], ‘we need more space.’”

He also mentioned that this problem seems to increase more in the winter semester, due to the necessity of rooms required to conduct Shark Preview interviews and events.

“We talked about creating a task force of students to go around campus at different times and see what rooms are available on a consistent basis, and if they’re available, why aren’t we using them or why aren’t we being told to use them?” explained Lopez.

The university has been made aware of this issue, and various offices are working to combat it. One such effort is a multipurpose space that will be built in the new residence hall, which is on target to open in fall of 2019.

“I think the students will like that [the new residence hall] will have more programmatic space, and we were very intentional about that. Dr. Hanbury has been exceptionally responsive to the limited program space on campus,” said Aarika Camp, associate dean of student services and adjunct faculty member in the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and Fischler College of Education. “We’re looking at a huge multi purpose room, we’re looking at smaller study rooms, just because right now it’s a challenge to find a space that’s not as big as the arena or Miniaci… but just for a hundred people.”

Daniel Alfonso, vice president of facilities management, said that the university is also looking into adapting existing spaces for student use.

“We heard the complaints,” said Alfonso. “We have been looking at space options that we want to convert into space that can be used for various uses.”

The second floor of the UC, on the north end by the stairwell, as well as the north end by the desk on the first floor, were both places Alfonso said they were looking into opening for reservation by student organizations.

Lopez also brought up the idea of possibly implementing a technological system that would show students what rooms are available at what dates and times, similar to reserving a seat on an airplane.

“Why can’t we have something like [a smart selection system] — as long as it’s before the 10 business days? It’s been frustrating for me that I’ve been going back and forth for two and a half weeks [trying to find a room that’s available],” said Alfonso. “I can’t see what’s open and I’m sending blind spots. We need something where you put in the date, put in the time and it shows what’s open.”

Alfonso also said he would be open to the idea of looking into this further in the future, and believes it could benefit students, although it would take time and money to implement.

Both Lopez and Bobby Borgmann, director of campus life and student engagement, said that they are hopeful that this lack of space will not hinder student organizations from forming or meeting in the future.

“I wouldn’t say it’s discouraging students from starting clubs,” said Borgmann. “But I think it may discourage students from having events, just because the spaces that they want may not be available. I know that there have been issues with outside organizations reserving space on campus, which doesn’t go through us.”

If an organization sees a room they wanted to reserve empty at the time of their event when they were told they could not use it, they are encouraged by Lopez to bring it up. Occasionally, other organizations may cancel their events and that information may not be relayed to others.

Lopez said, “Students should bring concerns with specific instances to SGA.”

In the future, Borgmann said that students should try to reserve their rooms as far ahead of time as possible, and to reach out to respective offices with their concerns.

“Sometimes the ideal date and the ideal space that students want is already taken. Most times, it’s out of our control,” he explained.

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