The Gustavian Weekly

Senate considers Dive alternatives

By Ben Miller Managing Editor | March 15, 2013 | News

The rejection of the Dive renovation has drawn confusion and frustration out of many students. <em>Chelsea Johnson</em>

The rejection of the Dive renovation has drawn confusion and frustration out of many students. Chelsea Johnson

An effort to raise money for the renovation of the Dive was rejected on Monday, March 4 when the student body voted not to increase the student activity fee. The resolution received 421 “no” votes and 380 “yes” votes, totaling 801 total votes on the resolution.

This increase, which would add $50 to students’ activity fees for the next eight years would have raised one million dollars for the renovation of the Dive on behalf of the students, and would be supplemented by 700,000 dollars from the Board of Trustees.

Student Senate, which has been working toward a renovation of the Dive for more than five years, is disappointed with the results of the vote.

“Senate has been working on renovating the Dive for several years and would have like to see the resolution pass,” Senior Student Senate Co-President Jessica Flannery said. “That being said, we are not giving up on possible renovations for the future. We will continue to work with students and administration to make updates to the Dive.”

“It was surprising to see the resolution get voted down,” Sophomore Class Representative and Chairman of the Dive Renovation Alternative Committee Joe Thayer said. “It was also motivating for me to push harder for a space we can take pride in. A number of other institutions have spaces like the renovated Dive, and it’s something that Gustavus is lacking. It’s a space that could be used for medium-scale events from groups like the Campus Activities Board (CAB) and LineUs, not just for dances from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. every Friday night.”

“At other institutions, students have financed these spaces to have a place to call their own,” Thayer said. “These renovations are different than the Nobel Hall, Anderson Social Science Center, and Lund Center renovations. The Dive renovation project has been student-led from the beginning, so it’s important to students’ lives, as opposed to institutional academic updates.”

After the renovation plan was voted down, Student Senate created a committee to plan the next steps that Senate will take in the project, and to look at alternative funding options.

“This committee formed because I’m not giving up on the project,” Thayer said. “A lot of work has been put into it, not only by Student Senate and administrators, but by past students as well. To see such a low voting percentage shut down so many years of work on a space that students could take pride in is disheartening.”

This committee is considering a number of methods to improve the space.

“Options now could include, but are not limited to: finding funding for smaller renovations and updated equipment, going back to the Board of Trustees and asking for more money, and finding other sources of funding,” Flannery said.

“Our next steps are to sit down with various offices to try to secure additional funding and find out what our options are,” Thayer said. “We’re going to look at whether or not we can utilize excess or contingency funding to set money aside until we have enough for the project. I don’t think there was enough information or publicity before the vote happened, so we’d also like to try the vote again next year. We’d also like to reach out to recent alumni who might remember the Dive as a run-down place that is in need of a renovation, and possibly organizations like CAB to see if they’d be willing to help over the long-term.

“In the past, an increase in the activity fee has been used to fund cardio machines in Lund, so it isn’t hard to conceive our current and future students financing an improvement to our campus,” Thayer said.

Students expressed their opinions about the Dive vote as well.

“I was surprised about the vote because I did not know what was going on, and as a senior, I wasn’t asked to vote on it,” Senior Christine Tenhoff said.

“Seniors should have been able to vote,” Senior Sarah Lucht said. “After being here for four years, we have the experience of knowing where money should be allocated and where we can improve as a campus. It makes me sad that it was not approved because it would have been a better space for students.”

“I think we need to be spending money on better athletic facilities because more people can use them,” Sophomore Aaron Erickson said.

Some students liked the Dive as it is now, and wanted it to stay the same.

“I voted against the Dive renovation because I like the current atmosphere of the Dive,” First-Year Mitch Hendricks said.

“I didn’t like that students would have to contribute an extra fifty dollars a year, and I like how the Dive is now. If it was renovated, it would lose the spirit of the Dive and why people go,” Sophomore Bill Rodning said.

Some individuals are also upset that they might lose the historical aspect of the Dive as a pool.

“I think tearing down the pool would be a negative aspect of the Dive renovation,” Emma Hinrichs said.

Students interested in working on Dive renovation alternatives should email jthayer@gustavus.edu.