This year student organizations have been feeling the cost of Marquette’s expansion efforts. Ironically, many student groups say the expansion has left with less room and them out in the cold and without a place to gather. Pure Dance Marquette, a student dance organization, is one of several student groups that has had difficulty finding adequate practice space on campus.
Olivia Corradin, Pure Dance president and co-founder and a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences, said her group continues to experience a shortage of practice space. “Student groups cannot get space when they need it,” she said. “There is more demand for space than there is space available.”
Corradin attributes some of these problems to the tearing down of Carmel, a former university owned apartment building. Carmel was torn down earlier this year to make way for the new engineering complex being constructed on the corner of 16th Street and Wisconsin Avenue.
Vice President of Administration Arthur Scheuber said that although student organization meeting space has decreased, placing groups in available spaces on campus has always been a struggle.
“Student groups were using one large meeting space in that area [Carmel] prior to the construction…(but) historically there has always been a shortage of student practice space.”
Martial arts student orgnization Kuk Sool Won has also experienced the shortage of adequate practice ground. Kuk Sool Won President and College of Arts & Sciences senior Kristen Ruka said when it comes time to practice the group is often moved by Event Management.
“We were put in assorted practice spaces throughout the AMU, including Weasler Auditorium,” she said. “It was a challenge making sure all of the members knew where we were located for each practice, and, as we are a martial arts club, it hindered our ability to practice because it is not safe to practice some techniques while falling on a hard wood floor.”
Ruka said that in addition to inconsistent meeting places, Event Management has been unable to find any space for all of the group’s practices. “Event Management originally only gave us alternative spaces for about two-thirds of our practice times,” she said. “So we had to cancel around a third of our practices simply for lack of space.”
Ruka said that although Event Management does try to find alternative space for the group in the event their room becomes unavailble, the alternative locations are often inappropriate for the organization’s needs.
“One practice they placed us in Henke, next to the Lunda room. Again, we are a martial arts club, and we were put into a room lined with nice couches and lamps.”
Despite the space struggles student organizations experience, the administration said they are looking for solutions. One of the solution is the integration of classrooms into the practice schedules. “Within the last three years, University Administrators worked together to help integrate classroom space into the scheduling system that is available to all student groups.”
While Scheuber indicates that this integration will help all student groups, university policy still hinders performance groups like Pure Dance. The availability of academic classrooms creates a new and unique set of restrictions for Pure and other performing groups on campus because their use of music.
“I was told the music was a problem for classes that were going on… but even if there were no classes we still can’t reserve a classroom because of this policy,” Corradin said.
Despite these difficulties, other student organizations have been able to adjust to the space they do or do not have. The co-ed acappella group the Gold’ N Blues was limited to Marquette Hall room 100 and Henke Lounge as these were the only rooms allowed to be reserved that had a piano.
“Event Management has been pretty helpful with trying to accommodate us, but it would be helpful if there were more universal spaces for non-music program-affiliated students to have access to with pianos, and that would be available to reserve,” Gold ‘N Blues President Hilary Braseth said. “We have not made any complaints to the university or anything because we’ve learned to work around inconveniences, like for example we have our own portable electronic keyboards so if we hit a worst-case-scenario and can’t reserve space, we’ll hold practice with a keyboard at an apartment.”
Scheuber said the availability of space is a consideration in university expansion plans, and notes that “student space is factored into many decisions, as was the case when the university made the conscious decision to use Open Pantry’s relocation as a perfect opportunity to create additional space.”
Scheuber said there are currently efforts underway to make up practice space lost from Carmel Hall.
“There is a group of administrators that have been assembled to look for additional options that would address the space that was lost,” Scheuber said. “This new group is just another way the university is looking to explore all available options for additional space.”
Popularity: 2% [?]