Student organizations need more space

Bryan Lipiner

As the university’s enrollment continues to grow year after year, more students decide to get involved and join organizations. Joining an organization can be valuable in a variety of ways; it’s a way to meet new people, it’s something you can add to your resume and it’s an opportunity to participate in what you’re passionate about.

According to, there are currently 6,553 undergraduates at the university, with an additional 2,482 students pursuing graduate degrees. In an interview with The Chronicle in November 2014, President John Lahey said that the university’s plan is to increase the total enrollment to about 10,000 students. Then, at the 2015 State of the QUNion, Lahey added that the average class size has increased from 20 to 22 students.

When enrollment grows, student organizations will have a higher number of members. This includes anything from student media, to Greek life, all of which have seen increased attendance as the university’s enrollment has gone up.

Certain spaces are small as it is. The Media Center at times has dozens of members from up to seven different media organizations. It also doubles as the studio for Q30 Television, which holds several “shoots” each week for many different shows.

Across the hall, the Greek suite serves as the home for 14 total fraternities and sororities. With Greek life also becoming a bigger presence on campus, the need for more space is exemplified.

In addition, there are some organizations which don’t have specific spaces, while others (such as those stated above) do. Obviously, this isn’t exactly fair.

So how do you go about creating more space for organizations? It’s difficult to justify renovating the recently reconstructed student center after just two years, nor would it be easy to do so.

Perhaps additional space for organizations could be provided in other buildings around campus. An additional student media space, for example, could be built in the new School of Communications at the old law school building, where space is plentiful due to the high number of rooms.

Another alternative could be to emphasize utilizing meeting rooms at Rocky Top Student Center, many of which are usually available to reserve due to their location on York Hill.

Options, while not immediately necessary, should at least be explored, if they have not already. The university’s growing student population warrants an expansion on organization space, hopefully sooner rather than later.