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Ted on the Street: Who’s well with the wellness center?

My fellow students, every time a controversial issue is raised at this university, people (those who actually care in the first place) are in an uproar. Students ask questions like: How does this affect me? Will this benefit me? Why do I care?

If this sounds like it might be you, listen closely.

An issue has arisen recently that could affect, or even worse, not affect the very foundation of your campus life. The question: Should you vote yes or no on the proposed Student Recreation and Wellness Center? Unfortunately, most people have no idea what this is. The real question that should be asked is: Why should students at Cal State Long Beach vote at all?

This week’s Ted on the Street will attempt to break through the silence of people who avoid with all of their strength even knowing that this campus has a student government and address the issue of a recreation center possibly being built on campus.

The Skinny

Students will be able to vote today and tomorrow during a special election on whether or not the proposed Student Recreation and Wellness Center, which would be the student version of gyms like 24 Hour Fitness, should be built. This project would also use current parking spaces, and require the building of several more parking structures to compensate, one of which would be built simultaneously with the center. Students would have to pay an additional $110 fee per semester, effective in the fall of 2010.

Voting booths will be open from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. tonight at the College of Business Administration building East Walkway, outside the Social Science and Public Affairs Building and at the West Campus Turnaround near Brotman Hall.

“The Recreation and Wellness Center will be a multi-million dollar facility that will achieve many things that I have witnessed personally having been a president at four public universities,[which] have either constructed new student health and wellness facilities or have added additional facilities due to their student use and popularity,” said CSULB President F. King Alexander.

Alexander said students on campus have limited resources available to them regarding exercise facilities due to the high usage of those facilities by various athletic programs and exercise groups already using them.

“Students rarely get to use the existing ‘outdated’ facilities because they fall behind academic classes, intercollegiate athletics, intramurals, group usage and other time limitations,” Alexander said.

As described in an e-mail by Alexander, some of the other benefits for students include the potential to build a stronger campus community by having students stay on campus more, making the campus more convenient for students who will be able to eat, study and exercise without going elsewhere, and creating over 150 employment opportunities for students.

“The student fee can be used to acquire more federal and state direct student aid grant support for students because it is a campus-based fee,” Alexander said. “This cannot be done by paying memberships at Frog’s, Bally’s, 24 Hour Fitness, etc. The student dollars are simply lost.”

Alexander also said students will not have to pay until “we are ready to open the doors. Current students do not pay.”

Communications assistant and journalism major Melissa Duque, who works for the Associated Students, Inc. (ASI), described why voting is so important.

“This is a huge thing for our campus and there are good arguments for and against building a rec center,” Duque said. “However, what is most important for myself is that students take the time to go out there and vote. It only takes a few minutes and all you need is your student ID. And whether you vote for or against it is fine, as long as you vote.”

Should the vote pass, the building of the center would begin around July 2009 and be completed by the fall of 2010, according to Duque.

The Street

Danny Sherman, a former student at CSULB and former Senate member of the College of Business Administration, gave his opinion on why the rec center is a bad idea.

“Some of the largest features of the new rec center would be a pool, indoor track and indoor basketball court,” Sherman stated in an e-mail. “It is unnecessary to build an indoor track and basketball court in a place where it hardly rains. The track could be upgraded, but is it really necessary? We already have a pool in the [University] Student Union that nobody ever swims in and two outdoor pools by the recreation department.”

Sophomore communications major Danny Espinosa disagreed. “I think it’s a great idea. It could give us more of a school atmosphere. We don’t really have a place to hang out and meet new people.”

“I don’t really want a rec. center,” said sophomore anthropology major Alexandria Shaw. “I just don’t think it’s a good idea to add to the school when it’s already looks like crap. Take a look at the bleachers on the track field. I’ve seen better bleachers at high schools.”

Some are more apathetic about the whole situation. “I’m probably not going to vote,” said Sean Vidal, a freshman music composition major. “The price increase isn’t that much of an issue to me, but I feel the money could be used for better things. I’d really like to see a football team come back here.”

Ted Concludes

Taking time out of your day to vote on an issue that may not affect you or anyone you know might not seem like a meaningful task. But if you think about it, how much of what you do on campus is meaningful anyway, aside from going to class? After today’s vote, the students, however few of them do actually vote, will have spoken and one of two things will happen.

We will either have a center, which most of our current students won’t even be around to see, or we will have yet another reason not to vote.

The verdict? The recreation center: Say yes, say no. But say something.

It may not matter to you, but if you have an opinion, why not express it with a vote. If you don’t vote and have an opinion, then keep it to yourself. Just remember this: If you think you might be here in 2010, and you are against the center, make sure you say something or you’ll be stuck with a check you don’t want.

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