12th annual BBC Town Hall focused on sustainability

Brea Jones/Staff Writer

University President Mark B. Rosenberg and other school officials discussed recent accomplishments, future goals and answered questions regarding the future of the Biscayne Bay campus at the 12th annual BBC Town Hall on Monday, Feb. 12.

The town hall began with the introduction of the BBC Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs, Anthony DeSantis. DeSantis spoke about how grateful he was for his time at FIU and how he was looking forward to meeting more of the students and faculty in the coming weeks. He then introduced Rosenberg.

The new Felsberg Veterans Plaza at Modesto Maidique Campus, which was unveiled on Veterans Day last year, was one of the University’s recent accomplishments, according to Rosenberg. The plaza was named after Paul Michael Felsberg, an FIU student-athlete and second lieutenant in the Marine Corps who died at 27 from a rocket-propelled attack in Ramadi, Iraq, during the second Gulf War in 2004. The plaza features a statue of Felsberg.

Rosenberg said that to build a better FIU is his goal – and BBC is not second to the MMC.

“We are one,” said Rosenberg. “Although there are two different locations we have the same purpose: get a great education, get a great job and prosper.”

Other accomplishments include being the first University in the country to offer an undergraduate degree in  “Internet of Things,” and moving the kinesiology and health services administration program to BBC. This movement will bring new labs and equipment to BBC next fall, said Rosenberg.

Matthew Welker, principle of Marine Academy of Science and Technology @ FIU, a public high school program that collaborates with the University, also spoke of the progress made within the five years of being open. Within the last year, the school’s AP enrollment has increased by 52 percent according to Welker. MAST is also one of the few public high schools in the country that allows students from grade 9 to 12 to enroll in an FIU course during school days and summer, according Welker.

MAST, Welker said, will hopefully have a its own building at FIU by August 2020.

An hour and a half into the forum, the floor opened for audience questions, with most questions pertaining to the sustainability of the BBC campus. Questions about better procedure for campus recycling, placing windmills on campus, plans to work on climate change, help further research and “dealing with” rising sea level were some of the first questions asked by students and staff.

Rosenberg said that the campus staff would work to find a better way to recycle on campus.

But, although he would like for FIU to continue dealing with the issues surrounding sea level rise, it was currently not within the University budget. The idea for placing windmills on campus will most likely not happen because of the negative impact it would have on campus wildlife, according to Rosenberg.

Students also brought up the difference in operation hours at the Green Library at MMC versus the Hubert Library at BBC and the cost of living at Bayview.

One student said he has to travel to the MMC library just to study because the Hubert library closes earlier. Monday through Thursday, the Green Library is opened 24 hours a day compared to the BBC library which closes at one a.m.

Anne Prestamo, the Dean of Libraries, said it was a two and a half year process in order to get the Green Library to where it is today.

“[It’s a] balance of traffic and demand with the cost of the service. As the student population grows at BBC we will want to consider this and see if we can make adjustments,” said Prestamo. “Possibly the first step there would be experimenting at the end of the semester opening just as we did at the Green Library.”

Another student said that Bayview’s expensive housing made it difficult to live on campus and wanted to know if the University could make it more affordable. The cheapest rate for a four bedroom/2 bathroom apartment at Bayview currently is $1,079 a month.

Rosenberg said there’s currently no on-campus solution for cheaper BBC housing options.

“Commute for home or apartment share is the only other option,” said Rosenberg. “We don’t have any other housing options on this campus so until we have another large population boom on this campus [nothing can be done about the current prices].”

Director of Housing Joe Paulick also mentioned that there is now a website (Classifieds.fiu.edu) available to students that allows them to find other students for apartment shares.


Feature Image by Anna Radinksy/PantherNOW

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