What could be considered the mall of Sonoma State University—the Student Center—a central place for students to socialize, purchase food and supplies on campus, celebrated its first birthday on Thursday.
It’s already showing its maturity—and value. The ease of finding everything a student needs in one place wasn’t possible before the $62 million, 130,000-square-foot building officially opened on Nov. 13, 2013.
Students had to walk from afar, whether to scattered eating venues, the much smaller former location of the Student Union, or the now-demolished home of the old Bookstore, to get what they needed.
According to the first thing posted on the center’s website, “The SC (Student Center) is a centralized building on campus focused on enhancing student life.” In many aspects this is true. It offers a redesigned eating experience, state-of-the-art conference rooms and the largest ballroom in all of Sonoma County, which can be divided five ways.
What many said and continue to say is a drain on school resources and funds, others see as a way to create a better college experience for students. Housing a 4,000-square-foot central lounge for students to hang out and socialize, a new pub and copy and mailing service center are just some of the many other resources.
Compared to many, the Student Center is making strides in the right direction, and has organized everything in one place for students.
It’s fashioned in Apollonian style compared to what could be considered Dionysian, like the wine business program, which has its courses spread-out across the school like autumn leaves falling off a tree. This semester alone, the program had courses in Salazar, Stevenson and Carson.
Students are counting their pennies. A $150 increase in tuition to help pay off the center’s bond for 30 years may seem like a large financial burden placed on cash-strapped students, yet they will have less funds to allocate toward living expenses.
However, after gathering some perspective, this increase equates to only a 4.12 percent increase in tuition for a full-time undergraduate student.
In determining whether this was a worthy expensive, students must remember and consider the benefits provided by the center. The Student Center is made available to students for more than 12 hours per day; allowing access virtually any time. The variety of dining options offer convenience and a worthwhile social experience to students.
Campus Prints and the Bookstore provide resources and additional convenience to students. In addition, the Student Center serves as the central hub for student clubs, organizations and special campus events.
These offerings in totality provide many luxuries to students in one central place. The many benefits of the Student Center seem to outweigh the cost of a 4.12 percent tuition increase.
Many students only make minimum wage. But look at it this way, the Student Center has a lot to offer students, and creates a better sense of community on campus.
Every student has their reasons for why they chose Sonoma State, from programs of degree to just feeling like they fit in. The Student Center, after a year, can be seen as bringing the whole campus more together, being right in the heart of Sonoma State.