There have been many ongoing and heated discussions about The Dive in the last several years at Gustavus. Many people view The Dive as a gross, crowded and underused place where renovation is essential. Others may view The Dive simply as a Friday night place that does not deserve such attention, efforts, and money. Recently this topic has been brought up again as the word has spread that Student Senate will vote on the issue in upcoming days.
The idea of renovating The Dive can be traced back many years. Assistant Dean of Students Megan Ruble explained how the issue was raised.
“Maybe five or six years ago, students showed an interest in renovating The Dive. Really heavily, these last two years,” Ruble said.
“Student Senate had invested about 10,000 dollars into an architectural firm actually coming over to campus and creating designs for us. So the students voted on the designs with price tags,” Ruble said. However, the project halted as the plan of increasing the student activity fees got rejected in the Student Senate.
According to the presentation about the referendum showed in the Student Senate last year, “(Students) will have the opportunity to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to assume a $50 annual fee for each year you are a student (beginning next academic year). This fee, collected for up to eight years, will jointly fund the renovation of The Dive facility. The Board of Trustees has already agreed that the College will fund approximately 45 percent of the project.”
Ruble and others who were in favor of the plan were upset by the outcome of the vote.
“It was defeated by a narrow margin,” Ruble said. They genuinely believe that the renovations can be highly beneficial for the students and campus.
“Courtyard Café would move to The Dive. There would be a large stage area and a large performance area. It really would open it all up and utilize pretty much the whole bottom floor of the union,” Ruble said.
Director of Campus Activites Andrea Junso furthered Ruble’s argument.
“It needs to happen for many reasons. One, it’s completely underused right now. We lack an event space at Gustavus. A lot of times, if Alumni Hall is booked, there is really no other place for people to have events. They end up going to The Dive not because they want to, but because they have to,” Junso said.
Junso attributes the failure mainly to the lack of communication.
“The reason that it didn’t pass last year was because not enough people knew about it. The Student Senate didn’t do a good job of communicating about it, and the impact it would have on the students. Also it was in conjunction with another election. I think it’s being its own separated vote right now, not in conjunction with anything else, and they’re going to have a bigger effort to communicate this, ” Junso said.
Ruble had a different interpretation for the cause of the failure.
“I can imagine that because the student fees will go up as why people voted against it. I think that’s a safe assumption,” Ruble said.
The financial cost to individuals is on many students’ mind. First-year Xi Wang showed her concern.
“With the size of around 2,000 students, $50 per person will add up to around $100,000. It would be $400,000. That seems to be a very large amount of money,” Wang said. Junior Amy Vang expressed a similar sentiment.
“Financially, I don’t think Gustavus should waste money to renovate something that doesn’t need to be renovated,” Vang said.
But the potential financial burden is not the only reason people oppose the plan.
“The Dive looks fine by itself and it was fixed to look like that due to the tornado that happened here at Gustavus. Honestly, The Dive has too many memories as it is,” Vang said. Junior Christine Shoemaker agrees with Vang’s point.
“The Dive is a historical site. However, I believe there should be a better ‘hang out’ place built for the Dive,” Shoemaker said.
The details of the plan this year are still unknown. Senior Nick Nigro, who was involved in the project last year, shows that limited information regarding the renovations is revealed.
“I haven’t heard anything about it this year except the co-presidents are thinking about bringing it up. I’m not sure about if the plan this year would change. I haven’t even seen anything coming up on our agenda,” Nigro said.