Two proposals were made at the student senate meeting on Dec. 2: one for renovations for all residence hall lounges, the cost amounting to approximately $139,000, and the other for the creation of a Center for Engaged Learning and Student Success (CEL), which could cost roughly $300,000 – $450,000. The funds for these projects originate from the Capital Fund, and fund that students’ activity fees (part of tuition) pay into each year, and every four to five years a new development on campus forms for students, both Founders and Doppelgangers were products of this fund.
Sophomore Zach Lough, Student Senate President, called the meeting to order at 7:09 p.m., with an audience of approximately 25 people. Resident Hall lounges were the topic of the first presentation and proposal. The proposal called for “dramatic” improvements to every residence hall lounge on campus in a way that would have an immediate impact on student life. Most of the furniture, décor and even the 1950s style two-prong electrical outlets are older than most of the student body.
The current state of the decades-old lounges is not representative of the image Wittenberg has been known for since 1845. Part of the proposal was created with the assistance of Karen Lotz of the Physical Plant and the Business Services Office. A survey was conducted asking students what improvements they would like to see. With over 180 student responses, the data was clear in stating students wanted a more inviting place to congregate, do homework and feel the comforts of home. It was suggested that this project — with a budget of approximately of $139,000 — could be completed all at once, or to ease the financial strain, over several semesters or even years.
Then came the second proposal for the creation of the CEL. This center would consolidate several student services into a “one-stop shop,” and would encompass the new offices for the Student Senate. The following student services would be consolidated: career services, student success, academic and disability services, international education, student employment and support services. Other new services might also include academic coaching, tutoring, supplemental advising and possibly an information service in the form of a kiosk for the registrar, financial aid and student accounts. The concept is that if these services are housed together, students would be more aware of them, allowing more students to utilize them.
During the open discussion of this $300,000 – $450,000 project, there was no mention of the university’s on-going financial crisis or possible alternative cost effective options. An anonymous committed donor will provide a part of the funds needed to supplement the difference between the $300,000 the Student Senate will contribute from their current capital funds, which has a balance of approximately $380,000. A survey on the issue will be sent to students soon, and the matter will be open for discussion during spring semester.
While the Student Senate reiterated that no plans were concrete, however said “we want it to be what we want it to be.”