UR is planning to embark upon a capital campaign, to raise money for improvements to the College. We feel that this is a good focus for fundraising, as there are certainly good ways to improve the facilities and life at the College.
It is important that the university prioritize where the money will go, and which projects are most important. From our perspective, as members of the student body, we have suggestions for where the funds could best be directed.
The top priority, while costly, is creating a centralized student union ? a place on campus that meets the needs of a student union, and where students could gather and spend time. With the conversion of the Wilson Commons Recreation Room into The Hive, and the fact that student services are spread out among several different buildings ? Todd Union, Wilson Commons, The Frederick Douglass Building, and the Susan B. Anthony Residence Halls ? means that our student body has no good place to gather and recreate.
Wilson Commons is an architectural relic, but the lack of usable, and well-used, space makes it necessary to create or modify another building to fill this purpose.
This should be a top priority because it should be the focal point of nonacademic student life on campus, and that is currently being supplanted by residence halls.
A secondary priority is the necessity of creating a suitable performing arts space. Todd Theatre, the May Room, and the two Strong auditoriums ? which cannot be used simultaneously ? are awkward or aging, and do not fulfill student performance needs. The relationship between the performing arts and their performance spaces is a highly intimate one, and requires that certain considerations are accounted for in the design and set up of the space. Currently, UR performing arts are at a loss for appropriate variety and quality of venues.
The location of the River Campus will always result in some space constraints, but proper planning and prioritization can alleviate some of these difficulties and improve student life.