About ten students were studying in the Scripps College Student Union last Monday night, while hoards of customers chatted noisily at the Motley Coffeehouse downstairs. Some students say the Student Union is underutilized, so they have proposed renovations and policy changes to convert it into a more accommodating and functional space over spring break.
The Union opened in Oct. 2010, when it was converted from offices into a space to house the student-run union. The space is supervised by the Scripps Associated Students (SAS), which is responsible for the upcoming renovation. SAS, which is funded by student fees, pays for everything in the Union, SAS President Antoinette Meyers SC’12 said.
Meyers has been a major advocate for the renovations, particularly hoping to make the Union more personable. One of the primary ways that SAS is planning to renovate the space is through adding paint to the currently blank walls. The only decoration the Union currently has is a handful of donated paintings, which Meyers envisions being replaced by student-generated art.
“If we’re going to make this a student space then it needs to look like one,” she said.
Some students who currently use the space agree.
“I would like to see more color,” Hilary Sager SC’14 said. “I like the space. It seems underused, so I feel like there must be something we can do to make it more popular.”
Michelle Guan SC’15 said she would like more white boards in the Union, and May Kim SC’14 said larger tables would be helpful.
Many use the space to study and value the low-key environment.
“It’s better than the library because you’re allowed to talk,” Jaclyn Smrecek SC’13 said. “But I like that it’s a quiet work environment usually.”
The Union will be repainted over spring break, said Meyers. While executive decisions about the colors are ultimately up to Student Union Chair Kelsey Poppe SC‘12, students can expect to see a wall covered in chalk board paint. However, how the newly redecorated space will be used is still under debate.
“The conversations that we’re having currently are about writing the policy,” Meyers said. “There’s no actual policy that’s written about the Student Union.”
The new policy will address issues of who can use the space and in what capacity. In the original agreement with the Board of Trustees, Meyers said, “it was stated that the space would only be Scripps-accessible.”
“Any 5C club meetings can’t necessarily be held in the Student Union as of yet,” Meyers said.
For Meyers, the Union would ideally act as both a social environment and a place to do homework. SAS is trying to achieve this balance by discussing a new schedule that would complement the established silent hours of the residence halls.
“We want to figure out a way that meets the needs of people who want to be loud and people who really need quiet and have a hard time finding it,” Meyers said.
Meyers underlined the importance of student contribution to the renovations.
“I don’t think that many people understand what we have the ability to do,” Meyers said. “The Student Union isn’t fully realized as a project yet. We’re working really hard to make it something that we can all collectively enjoy.”