Our Christmas wish list

Saint Louis University has been a good little campus this year, so The University News has drawn up our wish list with high hopes of receiving some exceptional Christmas presents.

1. For our first headline of the year in 2001, how about “Saint Louis University Declares No Tuition Increases”? Of course it would be in a huge font with a lovely story to follow, complete with quotes from our president about his strong commitment to the students. While the rest of our wish list will require some creative finagling of the budget, is it always necessary to charge the students first with all of the other possible sources of funds? What a welcome change from our past spring surprises of consistent tuition increases! Perhaps this small promise will evoke the greatest Christmas joy to touch the campus yet.

2. Did you ever ask for a puppy for Christmas? It might have been a tough sell to the parents because of all the responsibility and hassle involved. Sure, pets can be pricey and time-consuming, but what a wonderful addition to the family.

Hmmm . No, we do not want dogs for every dorm room. We want a student union, yet another big expensive commitment-but one that is direly needed for a better sense of community at this University. An entirely new building would be ideal to provide the best facilities and location. Situating a student union in a central area would solidify the unity of this campus and entice students into utilizing it more often. Perhaps the University is leaning toward renovation of the current Busch Memorial Center. Though it is clearly the next-best option, it is the very least that we deserve! The students need a 24-hour study center with a computer lab, choice food eateries, helpful services and a sense of real vitality and popularity. The administration might still be a bit reluctant to act on this issue, but surely a student union would quickly be this campus’ new best friend.

3. With 800 applications for scholarships turned into admissions this Dec. 1, we can only expect another overwhelming freshman class. Meanwhile, an inadequate amount of housing remains. Will this be the Christmas that finally solves the perpetual plague of not having enough residence halls? Santa’s sleigh has plenty of places to deliver a new dormitory or apartment complex. From recently acquired buildings to bountiful green spaces throughout campus, we have several realistic options to house our new and returning students with ample comfort and privacy.

4. We might be pushing this wish list with yet another building, but maybe Santa’s generosity can include a desperately needed new arena. Besides the obvious athletic priority of finding a permanent and reliable home for our basketball Billikens, our University would benefit from its use as a convention center and concert venue. As we dream of the notoriety and prestige of schools like Georgetown, maybe Santa will be slipping that crucial arena into our stockings.

5. Those predictable rectangle boxes were never the most exhilarating of gifts to open, but when it comes down to it, everyone needs clothes. The same can be said about securing our parking lots. It might not be the “funnest” gift, but students at this University will hardly be happy without them. Whether it is more frequent patrolling, security cameras or DPS booths located in the lots, something more needs to happen to ensure the complete safety of our automobiles and students. The initial reaction might not be shouts of joy, but the campus will be thankful.

6. Christmas is notorious for its hectic shopping, and what better way to prepare for next year than with a bustling commerce area right down the street? We are hoping that the administration will put further effort into revitalizing Grand Center, from creative stores to enticing restaurants. We have the potential to bring all the personality of the Loop or the Central West End to a nearby spot, a splendid possibility for the craziness of gift-giving in the holidays and as a year-round asset to the neighborhood.

7. If only we all had a Rudolph. Unfortunately, many students struggle with transportation to off-campus locations for groceries, entertainment, appointments and other vital trips in the life of a college student. Could our school possibly extend its shuttle service to follow the popular routes at Washington University? In the very least, our shuttle from the Health Sciences Center campus to the Frost campus could use some fine-tuning to improve its efficiency.

8. We’ve been begging Santa for quite a hefty load, but his little helpers in our student organizations might offer some of the best gifts. The members of the Student Government Association have hardly been the busy elves we expected, but there is a whole semester ahead to get down to work and accomplish some real change. With thorough research, open-minded communication with its constituents and just simple enthusiastic innovation, our SGA can bring our students presents not just at Christmas, but throughout the rest of the year.

9. But who will fund many of the desired improvements in SGA and our other campus organizations? We as students might need to be a little thriftier in our shopping this year and save a little of that Christmas cash to support an increased student activity fee in the spring.

10. All in all, though, the holiday season isn’t about all the wrapping, bows and material items that we have come to expect. The most important gift that this University can receive is a revitalized student body who shrugs off apathy and embraces the value of our present situation. We might not receive everything on our wish list, but we already have a great school that is worthy of our involvement and loyalty.