Over this upcoming winter break, the Associated Students of the University of Nevada (ASUN) offices will be reconstructed with a proposed $140,999 budget.
The previously named “Freshman Hub” Project was thought up back in March as a new student center in ASUN specifically geared towards freshmen, but now that the legislation has been put into motion it the money will be used for a full remodeling of the ASUN offices.
For the past five years, ASUN has been located on the third floor of the Joe Crowley Student Union. Since then it has not exactly been the forefront for student traffic in the Joe, but this project is meant to create a new activities area to the north quadrant of the offices and redesign the offices to be much more open and student friendly. According to the legislation the activity area, once called the freshman hub, will include new furniture costing $50,000, new computers costing $7,500 and something called idea paint (a wall paint that allows students to write on the walls) costing $21,000.
“The name was changed because we are not only trying to attract a freshman population,” says Amy Konsules, director of student programs at ASUN, “we are trying to serve the entire student body.”
The $14,999 is only an estimate of what will be spent on the project. It is a price ceiling that ASUN set so that they will not spend past this point. In the proposed budget for the project $75,749 dollars are amounted to probable project costs, which could be allocated to an assortment of different expenses associated with the project.
“This building opened 2007 and over that time we see different needs happening,” says Koekes, commenting on the bland, cubical filled office space that is the student government’s current layout, “Some of the back areas were clubs are not really being utilized how we hoped, so we decided to reformat the space so that students know that they can come in here and use the space,” says Koekes.
On top of adding a new student center the offices, rooms will be moved around and walls will be knocked to create greater student accessibility.
“It is not one of ASUN’s goals right now to bring students to our facilities, ” says Daniel Coffee, an ASUN senator on the budget and finance committee, “Usually we go to students and we want this to be an opportunity for the student to come to us.”
Right now ASUN offers a multitude of different student services including advertising services, student publications, legal services, and more. But with the location and current design the floor does not get as much traffic as ASUN officials would hope for.
ASUN gets a total of $1,705,460 in student fees to pay for the programs and services that are offered to student, but this $140,999 will be coming from ASUN’s capital fund which is made up of revenues made from the ASUN bookstore.
Like most spending that happens within ASUN, it is subject to scrutiny. There is even a club within the organization called Abolish ASUN, according to the ASUN budget, which receives $3,000 of ASUN’s funding to put on a giant carnival/pizza party that happens every semester. A Sagebrush article published a few weeks ago presented the student body with the question of whether or not the money was an appropriate venture for the student union. On the Sagebrush’s website one commenter said “asun should spend $140,000 on a giant dumpster so they can put themselves and their awful idea into the trash.”
Obviously there has been some resentment from the students about ASUN spending ventures of this level, but it is not the first time that it has been done. According a Sagebrush article about the project, money from this capital fund has been spent on building intermural fields, adding to the Lombardi Recreation Center and build a section of the Lawalor Events Center.
“I really appreciate everything that ASUN does for the students on campus,” says Burshfire editor Hannah Bemerham, “but I don’t think enough students know that is more than student government, it is programs that can help them too.”
While some students who work within the ASUN offices think that the project will help out the programs and services, others are skeptical about the success of the project.
“I don’t necessarily think this will help out the organizations” says Conor Pleoyger, a student volunteer at Wolf Pack Radio, “students will only talk about how nice the Joe looks instead of how well these clubs and doing and what they are doing for students on campus.”