Town hall allows residents to meet and discuss problems

Parking garages, weekend food options and safety were big topics discussed at the Student Government Association’s first town hall of the year on Monday, Oct. 6.

The town hall, located in Northern Terrace’s multi purpose room, focused on housing, parking, dining and Wi-Fi issues that Callahan and Northern Terrace residents are encountering.  

According to SGA President John Jose, each town hall they host addresses a specific topic so that they can productively discuss each issue.

“[A town hall] is a perfect way to reach out to our constituents and find out what is on their mind, no matter how big or small the problems might be,” said Jose. “We try to plan these with a concentration in mind so that everyone who attends will get the most out of it.”

One of the concerns discussed the most was the lack of parking at the two off-campus dorms. Dean of Students Jeffrey Waple explained why adding a parking garage near Callahan and Northern Terrace isn’t possible.

“To turn a parking lot into a garage ends up costing way too much” said Waple. “Per spot it equates to costing approximately $18,000.”

Although there weren’t any solutions found for the parking problem, plenty of other issues seemed fixable.

This included changing Callahan Bistro Residential Dining Hall’s hours on the weekends so students will not have to travel to the main campus as much to use their meal plans. Currently, Callahan Bistro is closed from 3 p.m. on Fridays until 4 p.m. on Sundays.

Waple suggested that SGA look into the cost of keeping the shuttle bus running for the weekend and compare that to the cost of keeping Callahan’s Bistro open on the weekends.

“Maybe you all should look into what it cost to run the shuttle versus the cost to keep the Bistro open,” said Waple. “If that is an exchange that the majority of students are willing to make, it just might work.”

The lack of emergency call boxes at shuttle stops was also brought to SGA’s attention. The boxes are located 100 yards apart from each other, so if a student encounters an unsafe situation while waiting for the shuttle, the chances of reaching a nearby call box are slim.

Elizabeth Ruwe, SGA’s student rights chair, thought putting more call boxes on campus was a good idea to implement.

“I think that would make students feel more safe and anything that will achieve that is worth it,” Ruwe said.

Ruwe also feels that the town hall accomplished everything that it set out to.

“I think it is effective to physically meet with students and hear what they need. It is easy to send out an email or go on social media to ask students what is on their mind, but there is more weight to doing something like this,” stated Ruwe.