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FOOD FIGHT! The Future of Griesedieck Dining Hall

To be a performance and study space or a new location for Career Services? SGA and Magis Square off

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According to SGA President Katlyn Martin, the plan she knew about was to covert sections of the old dining hall into a laundry, study, and performance space for students. However, when she checked in to the issue again in June, she found that it had been put on hold, because Career Resources had expressed a want for the space.

The MAGIS program, which has set up various initiatives around the school to try and streamline processes, started a group called the OE Initiative to look into how students use career resources. Its main objectives were laid out in 5 formal “areas of focus” which were mainly to analyze the current state of Career Resources and develop strategies. One of the things the initiative group planned to do was to “identify a new location for career services to heighten visibility.” Thus, this led them to the Gries dining hall.

However, this decision was not immediately popular with everyone for a few reasons. First, the group formed to analyze career resources did not include a student, as the MAGIS initiative groups usually do. Martin said this was a big issue for her from the beginning. This was just one of the ways that many feel this proposal to move career services ignored the SLU student body.

The initiative group took a poll of students and found that 61.29% percent of the students polled preferred Career Services to stay at its current location in the BSC.

As previously mentioned, even though this space was never promised to anyone, the original plan to renovate Gries dining hall would have provided study spaces for students and a performance space for the numerous groups on campus who are lacking practice space. According to Martin, performance groups serve over 500 SLU students on campus, and there is a huge lack of practice space for them on campus.  Martin says that having a spot in Gries would allow these groups the opportunity to work in an actual practice space instead of being forced to practice in places like the CGC or the Saint Louis Room, which are not necessarily correctly set up for these types of groups.

The space is also being used by Gries residents already for studying. Moving Career Resources to the dining hall would take away precious study space in a residence hall that doesn’t have much to start with. This proposed move has not been popular with the residents of Griesedieck Hall. SGA/RHA Senator Pooja Modi announced at SGA Senate on Wednesday that the Residence Hall Association had passed a resolution to oppose the move of career services with a vote of 20-0-0. She also said that RHA had spoken with residents of Gries Hall who said that “Gries was their home, and career services moving in would be like a business setting up in their living room.”

Gries was their home, and career services moving in would be like a business setting up in their living room.”

— Modi

It’s not just the Gries residents that are upset with the proposed move. Commuter students and graduate students have also voiced concerns about moving career services to a less accessible and less centralized part of campus. The Gries dining hall is only accessible by going through the residence hall entrance which excludes commuter students and many graduate students are unfamiliar with campus and having career services in a central spot in the BSC keeps it convenient for grad students.

Martin also brought up the issue that there has not been a full report from the OE Initiative completed and laid out, yet they want to skip ahead to moving the physical location of Career Services.

“All of these [the OE Initiative’s] areas of focus say to analyze, identify, and develop,” said Martin. “You can’t figure out what to do without a report. Let’s look at what we have, what we want, and how we get there. I’ve done my homework and tried to understand the reasons behind this and I don’t think this will accomplish any of them.”

Martin expressed displeasure that the current students are not being listened to.

I think that a lot of students feel neglected. Once they’re here, whose listening?”

— Martin

She said another of her issues with the move is that it doesn’t seem that the scope of the services that Career Services will improve with a move. She said that Career Services are already rolling out several new plans to improve service, and that they have been able to do that successfully in their current space. Moving Career Services will also move it away from the other similar services located in the BSC, making it less convenient for students to utilize all those services together.

It is important to note that the move is not final. Due to student pushback, the move has been halted. Martin says she appreciated the new willingness to listen to student concerns but wished that type of shared governance and student involvement had been there from the beginning.

This story is ongoing, as new SGA resolution is due to be introduced at next weeks Senate, and a decision on the space is yet to be made.

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