posted 2012-09-21 20:06:02

Clubs Spaces to be Reallocated This Semester

Some controversies still remain as SSAC redistributes club space    

Kristina Chan

Staff Writer

Students hanging out in their club space in Thomas Hunter. Photo by Bryan Edwards.
New club room assignments developed by the Student Space Allocation Committee in conjunction with the clubs themselves were implemented this semester, after a reevaluation of the reallocation process since it began last semester.

Hunter has over one hundred clubs – all of which are constrained to three floors of Thomas Hunter Hall. Reshuffling club space became necessary as more student groups began asking for rooms to house club activities within the past several years, and the college remained committed to finding club space for as many clubs as possible, said Student Space Allocation Committee (SSAC) member and the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) president Benedict Josen.

The new room assignments, which many club presidents complained about in the spring, will move many clubs into different rooms, which they may then be required to share with several other clubs.

In a recent meeting between the USG and Hunter College President Jennifer Raab, college administrators made it clear that acquiring more space for clubs at Hunter is extremely difficult due to limited available rooms.

As the number of clubs continued to grow and the available club space in Thomas Hunter Hall remained limited, the question of how to accommodate the number of clubs at Hunter was first considered three years ago when the administration reconvened the SSAC.

The SSAC – comprised of students from the USG, and clubs both with and without spaces – suggests appropriate room assignments for Hunter student organizations to the Dean of Students’ Office, and the Office of Student Activities.

“Some students feel such an ownership to their club spaces and often resist the changes the administration must make for the benefit of most clubs,” said Eunice Lewis-Broome, director of student life and assistant to vice president for student affairs.
“In the past, this resistance left the administration little choice but to shuffle clubs as best it could to accommodate the expansion in the number of clubs, as well as those clubs that increased in size,” she said.

Many clubs will now share a space with one or two other clubs, but some will have to operate in the same room with as many as seven other clubs.

In the case of the Inter-varsity Christian Fellowship, the student group will now share a first floor room with the Chinese Christian Fellowship and the Korean Campus Crusade for Christ. Inter- varsity originally requested a larger room to the USG, but was told the demand for bigger rooms was too high for all clubs to be accommodated.

“It’d be nicer to have a bigger room... it gets harder for all of us to stay here together,” said Samuel Jacob, an English major who serves as Inter-varsity’s prayer coordinator.

Ahmad Sadique, the president of the Muslim Student Association (MSA) and a Biology major, also voiced similar concern about limited club space. He said, “I want our room to be changed because every semester, the number of members increases.” MSA establishes a very intimate setting, and holding prayers in such small rooms with a large number of members is difficult, he said.

Two of Thomas Hunter Hall’s larger rooms, 305B and 320, located on the third floor, were previously used by clubs but have been vacated. Room 320 will be transformed into a communal club storage room.
Room 305B was home to several activist clubs including the International Socialist Organization (ISO), Resist and Multiply, Hunter Sustainability Project, Paths to Animal Liberation and Hunter Students United. The clubs will now share space with The DREAM Team and Amnesty International in Room 302.

The Student Resource Center Conference Room will now be used by eight clubs.

In addition to adjusting to smaller club spaces, some clubs foresee challenges such as securing personal club property might arise with new neighbors.

Although Alpha Phi Omega does not believe that sharing Room 318 with the Mathematics Society will cause any major conflicts, Antonio Gelavert, vice president of the fraternity since June, believes the pairing may cause new worries for several members who purchase furniture with their own resources.
Despite obstacles that clubs anticipate, the opportunity to have club space remains deeply valued by students in the Hunter community. The Queer Student Union, for instance, continues to provide a safe haven for the campus’ sexual minority communities.

“As queer students, we need a safe space to relax, do homework, interact with other queer students without judgment, and just to be comfortable,” said junior Darius Fox, president of Lesbians Rising since the start of this semester.

The next step for SSAC is to notify clubs with an official reminder and information via email. Lastly, a contractor will be needed to hand out appropriate equipment and measure the General Storage Space.

“No one is going to lose space,” said USG President Benedict Josen. “Either they will get new space, but new clubs will get new space that they didn’t have before.”