How many Yuba College students truly feel they are an important part of a comprehensive college community as they walk on this campus? Are attending classes, perhaps studying a while in the library and then leaving for home enough to foster within each student a sentiment that he or she really belongs here? Do you feel that great things are happening at Yuba College and you are excited to be involved in them? Or has your educational experience been somewhat more impersonal in nature?
If you are a student who feels detached from the all-encompassing “ideal” college lifestyle, it is likely that you are not alone.Our campus has several clubs and organizations already in place, which generate a sense of purpose and belonging among their members. But the scope of those benefits seem to be limited to students who are directly involved with those groups. If that is true, then what is the central force that unifies our student body as a distinctive community? Or are we unified at all?
Even in these times of budgetary crises, changes and improvements are still possible to foster greater integration between Yuba College students’ academic and leisure time. The real questions are: How badly do the students want to see improvements made at their school, and how willing will administrators be to work to accommodate the students’ wishes?
As a student, the first question I would ask is where is the student union? The closest thing I see on the campus map included in the Spring Class Schedule is Building 300, which is listed as the “Campus Center.” As far as direct student services are concerned, this Campus Center houses our dining commons and bookstore. How often do you eat lunch in the dining commons? After the first week or so of classes, how often to you shop at the bookstore?
Obviously, some students utilize these services more often than other students do, but the bottom line is – what is being offered to make the idea of staying on campus to eat or shop or just hang out worth my while?
Currently, the lack of a comprehensive, multi-purpose student union appears to leave students seeking other places to spend their leisure time besides on campus.
On a recent Friday evening I was in Yuba City with a friend, going out for ice cream at Baskin-Robbins. Guess what I saw? At 9:00 in the evening, the Starbucks lounge located adjacent to Baskin-Robbins was filled to capacity with coffee sipping, college-aged young adults. So why don’t we have a coffee “bar” with comfortable lounge seating in our Campus Center?
When I think of the numbers of students I see walking around campus toting Starbucks cups every day, the potential revenue that could be had by an owner of a java hut located either on campus or nearby on North Beale Road makes me wish I had the money to play entrepreneur. I am flabbergasted to think that no one else seems to have noticed how ripe our campus is for a coffee bar business. Just think how nice it would be to have all of those student dollars being spent for coffee on campus.
Another essential element for a collegiate student union is a TV and game room. You know, just a place to relax and hang out, where you don’t have to worry about bothering someone who is trying to study if you want to talk to other people in the room. You wouldn’t have to worry about it because the TV and game room is not a study hall! Studying is a good thing to do, but students who wish to study on campus can go to the library.
Which brings me to another point. A good student union usually has a quiet room set aside, designated for study hall, which stays open longer hours than our library ordinarily does. Much tastier than “No-Doz,” students could grab a tall latte at the coffee bar on the way to do their studying. After all, the coffee bar is located right there in the same building as the study hall.
One final detail that our campus sorely needs is a “can’t miss it” centralized site for the dissemination of information. That function used to be served by the marquee beside the entrance to the West parking lot, but apparently the letters won’t stick to our sign anymore, which makes it useless. Purchasing a replacement will cost money. So in these times of tight budgets, how do we begin to raise enough funds to make the ambitious improvements I have suggested?
Corporate sponsorship of collegiate athletic teams is a well-established practice, particularly among nationally recognized schools, but smaller colleges and even high schools can get sponsorship somewhere if they look for it. Would it be so farfetched for us to seek that sort of sponsorship and fiscal subsidization for our district?
We already have vending machines of several high profile, familiar brand name products dotting the grounds around just about every building, and I know those machines do booming business. It is a rare day when I can put in my money and not see “sold out” when I push the button for the type of soda I want.
So how much of a sacrifice would it be for us to have a marquee bearing a Coke or Pepsi or Gatorade or M&M’s logo in exchange for having a marquee that is actually functional?
We are already scratching the backs of the distributors and corporations every time we feed our dollars into those vending machines. Why not ask them to scratch our back a little, too?