by Courtney Briggs, Staff Writer
The Shack, one of two of Saint Vincent College’s dining options, was recently renovated, thanks to the Student Government Association. Every semester, SGA puts funds aside to take on a large capital project. The projects in the past have included large-scale physical changes such as the Carey Center Game Room and the Sound System in Lounge. Since many people dine at the Shack, a large number of students are affected, making the project worthwhile. Last spring, the students requested a change of the shack’s current conditions in the SGA Survey.
SGA paid for the transformation with money coming directly from the Student Activity Fee from student tuition, which is used to pay for such projects. Each semester, the full SGA senate hears about the budget and project ideas.
During Christmas break, the physical changes, including the new walls, lighting, and men’s restroom entrance next to women’s door, occurred. The area was also painted, new flooring was added to define walkways, and new eating areas were created along with the new TV’s added. New furniture including new booths, chairs, stools, tables, high-top tables, trash and recycling cans, artwork, and more will occur over Spring Break.
SGA President Renold Sossong is very excited about the renovations. He said, “As we only have two eating areas on campus, this project is going to affect a great portion of our student population. I think, and have heard from numerous students, that the changes are being noticed and appreciated.” Since changing menu options does not fit into the criteria for a capital project, SGA chose to change the setting. Sossong also said, “Capital Projects, while they do not have to, typically deal with improvements to the student experience. While not always, they typically fall into the physical plant area as we try to make Saint Vincent a better place to live and go to school.” SGA has not decided on this semester’s capital projects, but they are working hard to figure them out. Sossong says as long as he is involved, capital projects will continue.
Former SGA President Stephanie Fitzgerald feels confident that the changes will be put to good use. She said, “I think a lot of students are really going to like the new changes. The Shack is already a popular place for students to eat and talk with their friends, and I think it will get even more use now with the new look.” Fitzgerald thinks this will be successful because she believes the students are going to be really happy with the changes and hopes they will make use of all the new amenities.
Overall, the student body appears to be pleased with the transformation. Students are hoping that the next change will regard some of the menu options, but the changes have made the Shack a more popular area. Junior Brian Rising said, “I think the changes in the Shack are great. They are making a lot better use of the space, and it has much more of a restaurant feel with the eating area being closed off from the rest. The TVs also make eating more enjoyable if there is a game on or nothing to talk about.”
Sophomore Josh Spellmen said, “There are things that I like about the new facelift for the Shack, and then there are things I do not like. For instance, the proximity of the tables for me is just too close for comfort. But otherwise, the improvements are great, especially the TVs! Only thing to do now is add more variety to the menu.”
Freshman JJ Schall said, “I think the Shack has good food, and it seems very healthy. The people working there seem really nice, and I love the new addition of the new TVs, which allow me to watch games while eating with my friends.”
Sophomore James Lederach said, “I really like the changes. It is nice to see our school attempt a café atmosphere, instead of something out of ‘Saved by the Bell’.”
Although most students are satisfied with the results, some have different opinions. Sophomore Brian Flannory said, “I feel like the changes made for the Shack were very unnecessary, that the money could have gone towards something else, and [that the renovations] were a total waste of money. I liked the Shack the way it was.” Sophomore Sean Murphy feels that the color choice was distasteful and preferred the old colors.
Sophomore Jovaughn Johnson likes the new shack but feels that SGA chose TVs that were too small for the locations where they were placed. Senior Claudia Arrunategui said, “I have not experienced the new shack renovations yet because I am a commuter, but I feel that the new sitting took away some of the privacy that it used to have.”
SGA tries to choose capital projects that will impact and please students the most. Every semester they are trying to make changes on campus, so look forward to seeing more changes in the future.