By Alice Wang ’15Student Union Chair
Where is the Student Union? How do I reserve a room? Are the supplies SAS-use only? Why is there a vending machine, and does it even work? This month’s BeHeard Forum was held on Monday, Feb. 11 in the Student Union. The location was especially fitting, as more than 30 Scripps students showed up to discuss the Student Union as a space and learn more about SAS happenings. Hosted by SAS Vice President Alexa Kopelman and myself, the Student Union Chair, we talked about all these questions and how SAS can improve the space as a whole.
Formerly the home of SARLO, the Student Union is located directly above Malott Commons, next to the Hampton Room. Just a few years ago, SAS fought hard to find a space for students to study, hold meetings, and hang out. Since its opening in 2010, the Student Union has been managed by the Student Union Chair, and serves as a convenient and open space for Scripps students. The SU includes amenities such as computers, lockers, a printer, butcher paper, markers, and other crafting supplies as well as four private rooms for various purposes.
While many of the people who attended this BeHeard Forum are regulars at the Student Union, a portion of them expressed concern that the SU is commonly seen as a SAS space—and less as an open space for all students. As a group, we discussed ways to make the Student Union more welcoming for all students. Some suggest hosting more programming events in the SU for CLORGS and chats with faculty on topics that may not be completely academic. Others would like resources such as newspapers and magazines, and possibly a microwave and hot water dispenser for a homier feel. And still some just wish for a better-functioning printer. As a host of this BeHeard Forum and the Student Union Chair, I was glad to hear such a large variety of opinions and potential improvements for the SU. I always knew what I thought would improve the space, but hearing the opinions of others gave me a better idea of what everyone else wanted to see.
Through the past three years, the Student Union has changed drastically, with new paint, wall art, furniture, and recently, a vending machine and water fountain. While there is still much to be done, the Student Union is changing slowly but steadily, and I am hopeful that it will become a space that all students feel welcome in. All of the ideas are being taken into consideration, and it is certain that positive changes are on the way.