Students should know more about on-campus renovations

A reminder that UB is our campus, too


UB’s development partner, Brailsford & Dunlavey, came to the Student Union Wednesday to ask passing students what they would like to see in a future SU.

This allowed not only Student Association members and faculty to give their input, but gave average students the freedom to share their input on what would make the SU more appealing to them. 

We need more of this.

In my experience as an undergraduate, I’ve usually seen renovations happening at random times with no forewarning. The new offices being built in the middle of Silverman Library’s first floor last semester is a prime example. Why didn’t I hear about this earlier?

Did the university stop to think that taking up more study space in the library was something they’d want to talk to students about first?

The idea of students getting involved with campus development never hit me until I spoke to one of the B&D representatives. She told me that they travel to student unions across the country to get more ideas for UB.

This made me curious, so I decided look at websites that ranked how nice other student centers were. One website, EDsmart.org, counted down their top 51 student unions in U.S. colleges, with their No. 1 pick being High Point University’s Slane Center. While other public institutions like Ohio State University made the cut, there were sadly no SUNY schools in sight.

But I can’t say I’m surprised that UB isn’t listed.

While we have a good many dining options, our SU could provide more space for spending time with friends after classes. A number of student centers on EDsmart’s list have movie theaters, bowling alleys and arcade gaming rooms. Iowa State’s union even has a wine bar.

Our SU had its last update on Nov. 12, 1992, according to the university archives and pales in comparison to most of those on EDsmart.org’s list. The archives don’t mention whether or not students had a say in SU’s design.

It does, however, quote then-President William Greiner in an opening-ceremony speech stating that it is up to the students to make the building theirs.

“You will decide the use of the union, it is you who will decide the use of its facilities,” Greiner said. “Above all, I hope you will continue to use it, to enjoy it, to think about the new opportunities it offers for all kinds of people to put their talents and ideas to work.”

But while students may decide the fate of SU, we should at least have a say in what goes into other on-campus projects.

After all, it’s us who pay tuition and fees to come here. We make UB the No. 1 public university in New York. 

So why should we have to deal with a new construction project that interferes with study space in a library?

What B&D did on Wednesday is a reminder that we are an important part of what makes UB, UB.

We should be told, either in person or by email, that plans for renovations on any part of campus are underway. In the event that happens, we should have a say in what goes into these new developments and be able to protest them if it interferes with our academics or extracurriculars.

I’d like to see more development firms like B&D tabling on-campus, asking for our thoughts is an important part of making UB home.

It’s just like what Greiner said to students in 1992, “It’s all yours.” 

Cian Gonzalez is a staff writer and can be reached at features@ubspectrum.com.