Campus, CSU, News

University Student Union renovation project aims to meet student needs

By Azzan Shy and Vincent Medina

Associated Students Inc. will complete their proposal for the University Student Union renovations, The Future U Project, before the end of the semester.

The new Future U Project is in an alternative consultation phase, according to Shannon Couey, the ASI communications director.

Couey said ASI is gathering feedback from students and staff to consider what to prioritize when building the new student union.

“We are currently collecting student, faculty, staff and community member input on what their priorities are in a potential renovation and expansion of the union,” Couey said.

The additions to the University Student Union will increase the USU fee by approximately $240 to $270. However, the communications director explained that the fee increase would only go into effect once the Future U Project is complete.

Long Beach State students are concerned whether the new additions will genuinely reflect the student body’s wishes on campus and justify the price increase.

Abigail Carmona, a nutrition and dietetics student at CSULB, said if the proposed additions come to the new student union, the increased fee price will be worth it.

“It is providing things that you don’t have to pay for like the free food and the wellness counseling, which give two free sessions,” Carmona said. “I would say it’s worth it.”

ASI collected student feedback through their Future U Project Survey, which was posted from Dec. 5 through Feb. 10. The survey received 7,555 respondents; however, only 5,993 of those responses were fully completed.

The survey allowed respondents to describe which parts of the USU they valued the most and what additions they would like to see. According to Couey, survey results will be released along with the Future U proposal around the end of April or early May.

After the proposal is presented to the Student Fee Advisory Committee and delivered to President Jane Close Conoley, it will be forwarded to the CSU’s Chancellor’s Office before the proposed student union can begin construction.

Survey results indicate that food accessibility and diversity are the top priorities for students.

According to the Future U FAQ page, the major proposed programs coming to the new student union include expanded food service and seating, increased informal student lounge space and study space, increased student organization office/meeting space, and increased wellness space with nap stations and wellness counseling.

Carmona’s main criticism of the student union was the layout of the building, saying it was easy to “lose track” of where she was.

Carmona also said she agreed that food accessibility and diversity are a priority.

“The prices at school keep me from spending money, so I’ll pack food or wait until I get home to eat,” Carmona said.

Melissa Ramirez is a psychology student at CSULB who had the opportunity to take the Future U Project survey back in December. While Ramirez said she agreed with the importance of food options, she believes that additional study spaces are just as important.

“Having more options like study spaces and food can make more people wanna go in there instead of avoiding it and going to someplace like the library,” Ramirez said.

Ramirez also said an increased student union would be worth it if ASI’s proposed additions are implemented well.

“If it means expanding the food pantry study areas and food options I think it is worth it because a lot of students need those resources and especially things like wellness counseling is something very important for college students,” Ramirez said.

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