Union renovations necessary, leave legacy for future Wildcats

Illustration by Parker Wilhelm

Structural damage is not a joke, and if you think it is, then you probably aren’t very funny. Our Student Union is in dire need of renovations due to structural issues that include a roof that can be described as a bit sketchy. I can’t speak for the entire student body, but I can say that I have no interest in being around to see the Union’s roof collapse, or worse, watch the entire building crumble. These things might not happen in the immediate future, but if not attended to the Union will not be a place that anyone will want to hang out in or that we, as alumni, will care to come back to visit.

The simple solution to this problem is to vote in favor of the proposed Union renovations. By voting yes, students agree to a $20-per-semester increase in privilege fees starting in the fall of 2014 to fund Union repair and renovations. Some might complain that this seems like a rather large increase, but it really is not when you consider the grand scheme of things.

In 1938, when the Union was originally approved to built, students agreed to pay $5 a semester to have the building constructed. At the time, tuition was $50 a semester. Those students were willing to pay 10 percent more as part of their tuition so that future students would be able to enjoy the Union.

The proposed increase for renovations would result in less than a half of a percent increase in overall tuition for us, which is a steal if you ask me.

The students who paid to have the Union built would probably wish they could have paid so little. To further put things into perspective, $5 in 1938 is equal to just over $80 today. Past students made a much bigger commitment in having the Union built for our enjoyment than we will make by restoring and renovating it for future Wildcats.

As enrollment rates increase each year, the Union becomes less able to accommodate the greater numbers of incoming students. The expansions to the Union will make it more comfortable and will add to revenue streams, which will help the Union operate at a profit, or at the very least break even. Future students will not have to deal with the Union’s current financial burdens—it has operated in the red for nine of the last 10 years. We should make the Union experience better for incoming students in the same way that past students have for us.

Some of you reading this may be thinking, “Big freaking deal. I will be gone by the time the improvements are made to the Union.” That is absolutely correct, but is also beside the point. This shouldn’t be about instant gratification—it should be about the legacy that will be left behind by voting “yes.”

Sometime down the road, when you are encouraging your children or grandchildren to attend K-State, you can tell them how you had a say in the hip and happening new Student Union. Unless, of course, you have no pride in our school and have no desire to see it bettered—in which case, why are you even here?

If you are interested in having a roof collapse on you, have no school pride, can’t see that the increase to privilege fees is a steal or are selfishly concerned with only your own time at K-State, I encourage you to vote “no” to the Union renovations.

For those who take pride in being a Wildcat, think of coming back to campus down the line and enjoying the renovated Union. Don’t focus on the fact that you will not be able to enjoy it during your time as a student.

Vote yes to securing the future of the Union. Vote yes to leaving your legacy.

Zach Foley is a freshman in education. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.