Column: It’s time to bring a better campus life to Biscayne Bay

Image by FIU, courtesy of Creative Commons

Written by Camila Fernandez/BBC Managing Editor

With only about 15 percent of University students enrolled at the Biscayne Bay Campus, it’s no wonder that students at the bay feel left out of a more vibrant campus life than at the Modesto A. Maidique Campus.

According to Adly Norelus, Assistant Director at the BBC Enrollment Center, between 8,000 and 10,000 students are enrolled at the campus out of the current 54,000 total number of students that attend FIU. This substantially low number of students has created less opportunities for students and faculty to have more facilities and campus life activities compared to those at the main campus.

To help bring in more students, I challenge the University to take certain actions for improvement at the sister campus.

A potential solution would be to stop charging students $2.50 for each one way trip between campuses through the Golden Panther Express Shuttle. Enough as it is paying an average tuition of $6,506 for in-state students and $18,905 for out-of-state students, additional fees should not be necessary. If a student has to travel back and forth to both campuses five days a week, that’s $25.00 that could be used for other expenses. If the University is obliged to charge students, then perhaps they could try to reduce the price of the fee.

If students could travel cost-free to and from the BBC, they would be more willing to visit the beautiful sites of the north campus.

Another solution to a greater campus life experience would be to make sure that students get new student housing by fall of next year, without any additional delays. Since 1984, the campus housed over 500 students at Bay Vista Housing. However, at a recent Board of Trustees meeting, it was said that due to its poor construction it presented health-safety issues for residents. Bay Vista Housing is now managed by the Royal Caribbean Cruises and students have no on-campus housing.

According to Jim Wassenaar, Director of Facilities Planning and Operations at the Division of Student Affairs, housing is a great tool to bring more students to campus.

“It [is] important to deliver to this type of amenity so that we can attract the students that will ultimately become a part of enhancing this wonderful campus and our academic programs,” Wassenaar said.

The new housing, Bay View Hall, was expected to be completed by this fall, but due to late financial planning, it is planned to open by fall 2016. Study rooms, classrooms, a game room, a clubhouse, a resort style pool area and a view of the bay are just a couple of its main features.

“I definitely think that having a residential hall at BBC would give the campus life and be all the more reason to create a more active and social campus life,” said Alicia Dobson, junior public relations major student who studies at the campus’ School of Journalism and Mass Communications.

“Students are turned off by BBC because it is deprived of so many student activities. Most of the student programming and events take place at MMC, so I often miss events that I want to go to because I have classes at BBC,” Dobson said.

Finally, there should be more dining facilities on campus. Compared to the MMC which has over 20 restaurants, BBC students are limited to less than five. Not until last year did the University open a Starbucks, a college-life essential. During a last month town hall meeting hosted by the BBC Student Government Council, President Rosenberg said that new housing could open more possibilities for on-campus dining.

Students should not have to resort to eating outside of campus. However, Rosenberg encouraged students to continue eating on campus. This would make on-campus dining a greater apparent necessity.

Despite the small number of students, many who come to the BBC appreciate the more silent and peaceful setting of the campus.

“MMC is overly crowded, so it is easy to get sidetracked at MMC if you come to campus to study,” Dobson said.

Perhaps it is the University’s responsibility to find a balance of campus life for both the BBC and the MMC.

camila.fernandez@fiusm.com

About the Author

Camila Fernandez
A FIU School of Journalism and Mass Communications Student - Began working with Student Media in 2013.

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