Pitzer New Resources Program Pressures Administration to Renovate Lounge

On Nov. 6, the Pitzer Student Senate opened debate on Bill 53-B-5, an initiative that would allocate $3000 for New Resources Student Lounge renovations.

Pitzer College’s New Resources Program allows students of nontraditional college age, usually 23 or older, to experience an elite, liberal arts education.

Nick Flores PZ ‘17, the primary author of Bill 53-B-5, is a New Resources student. A construction worker by trade, 39-year-old Flores applied to Pitzer under the New Resources Program in hopes of becoming a teacher.

The program "pretty much means everything to me,” Flores said. He believes it provides unparalleled opportunities for marginalized individuals to gain intellectual, social, and cultural capital.

Pitzer Student Senate President Josue Pasillas PZ ‘17 believes that New Resources students provide an additional dimension to Pitzer’s educational and social atmosphere.

“These students have life experiences outside of academia that are integral parts of learning on campus,” Pasillas said.

The New Resources Lounge is a physical space devoted to New Resource Students. According to Flores, students like him use the lounge on a daily basis. However, Pasillas said that the lounge’s physical condition has significantly deteriorated over time. Pasillas drew attention to its “ripped couches ... broken chairs, [and] broken blinds.”

“The conditions of the room show they are marginalized,” Pasillas said.

Flores notes the disparity in condition between other on-campus spaces and the New Resource Lounge. 

"I go into a bunch of spaces on campus, and there’s new furniture, art on the walls, something that shows it’s part of larger institution,” he said.

Pasillas believes that renovations are both urgent and necessary in order to foster a welcoming atmosphere for New Resources students. Consequently, Flores and Pasillas authored a bill that secures greater financial and institutional support for the New Resources Student Lounge.

The bill garnered a positive reception, according to Pasillas.

However, the question of funding responsibility persisted throughout the debate. Pasillas said the Pitzer Student Senate has already funded “thousands of dollars of renovations” for organizations such as the Black Student Union (BSU).

According to Pasillas, the Student Senate has been spearheading all renovation efforts. Pasillas said that the Senate funds come directly from the Student Activities Fee, a payment made by all Pitzer students at the beginning of the school year. Yet, Pasillas feels that the financial burden should not be solely placed on students.

“Pitzer College should be responsible for painting walls, replacing furniture when it’s worn out,” Pasillas said.

Because funding conflicts have been a recurring theme in Senate debates, Pasillas further stressed the need for a clear system that delineates renovation funding and capital expenses.

The Pitzer Student Senate will vote on Bill 53-B-5 by Sunday, Nov. 13.