Recently, some randomly selected students at the College of William and Mary were sent a survey regarding possible changes to the Campus Center, located on Jamestown Road. While no questions discussed any definite proposed changes, quite a range of ideas were introduced to students. Ideas like a barber shop, night club or different dining options were all mentioned. This made me think about the current value of the Campus Center and the possibilities for its better usage.
The Campus Center is considered by the College to be the “student union” on campus. However, to be honest, I have never thought of it in that way. The last time I remember visiting the Campus Center was to either to eat at the Marketplace or sign up for block housing in the Residence Life office. I realize many offices are housed there and the building has numerous uses, but as of now it is not really seen as a student union by most of the student population.
That being said, I think the College’s idea of re-designing how the Campus Center is used is a great idea. While the Sadler Center does cover some of the “student union” type facilities, such as the televisions, pool tables, postal services and the Student Exchange, it would be nice to see some other options that would be helpful for students living on campus. As silly as the barber shop suggestion seemed to me at first, when I thought about it, it might actually be a really useful facility for students. I think most students would agree, too, that more dining options (especially if they’re open late) are always welcome. However, with the Tribe Square businesses opening soon, this may not be as necessary.
One of the main questions regarding these changes is whether or not the proposed adjustments would be more focused on practicality or fun for students. Given that the Campus Center is located on the opposite side of campus from many dorms, it may not be seen as a central location the Sadler Center. Therefore, would students make use of new facilities if they were built? In my opinion, the College should definitely continue to research and to talk to students in order to provide options that would be worth the time, money and effort. Currently, many students rarely visit the Campus Center, so the changes would have to be big and popular to draw enough student attention. The College needs to determine what students really want and need on campus.
While this project is in its very early stages, it’s certainly an interesting proposal to think about. I hope the College reaches out to as many students as possible as they research this idea further. I think that a redesign of the Campus Center has the potential to be a very positive and popular action. However, if it is not researched and developed correctly, a redesign could be a huge waste of time, money and space.