John Sutija / Contributing Writer
I was talking with my parents the other day (both of whom are FIU alumni), and they asked me what I do with my free time, to which I had to give the horribly disappointing response.
My father wondered why I didn’t hang out at the arcade in the Rathskeller. Which made me realize two things: one, my father hasn’t been on campus since the 80s, and two, there is no proper place for student recreation on campus. I say “proper” because that dark corner of Graham Center they call the “Game Corner” is shameful. And while we may have a “Recreational Center,” unless you speak a strange dialect of high english, you’re more likely to refer to it by the vulgar word “gym.”
In this vein, I see recently approved land gains as room for expansion. The 64 acres where the county fair recently sat are the perfect opportunity for Modesto Maidique Campus to address this issue. I think that, in homage to the fair and to the benefit of the students, a portion of the land acquired should be used to build a student entertainment center. A true place for students to hang out and blow off steam.
While the Game Corner has billiards, ping-pong, console and board games available for rental, nobody uses this resource. Why would they, when all of those things already exist in the dorm buildings for free? We should learn from its failure and create a better space for student recreation. This proposed Student Entertainment Center would be different, dropping the consoles and taking elements from both a traditional carnival midway and a classic arcade. To this extent, I mean the former to include skeeball lanes, a light gun shooting gallery and perhaps a carousel. The later means game cabinets: pinball machines, Pac-Man, Street Fighter, and Dance Dance Revolution.
Of course no good thing in life is free. To buy these machines, FIU would have to fork out some cash. It’s an investment with less immediately visible pay back. But if the university hopes to increase student enrollment by 15,000, then they better make an effort to make campus life more appealing – all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. If you’re reading this, President Rosenberg, I’m sure we can all afford a few quarters for our entertainment if that’ll sweeten the deal for you. Building an entertainment center will also encourage students to visit that side of campus and make use of the other new facilities.
Parallel to the proposed entertainment area there should be a food court. Yes, the University did just build MANGO as a new eating space, but because they intend to build additional class and office spaces now across campus from MANGO, a new dining space needs to be constructed anyway. No one is going to walk from Coral Way to GC just to get a colada between classes – that’s too much stress in the short ten minutes we’re provided with a back-to-back schedule.
We’ve all just come from finals – whether we were graded or grading – and we have all had more than our fair share of stress. College is hard, and we all deserve a place we can go to relax. I find myself wishing more and more that I could do something, go somewhere; somewhere not my own room.