Committee meets to review SMSU space

A town hall meeting was held on Wednesday to discuss this year’s Smith Memorial Student Union room allocation to student organizations.

A town hall meeting was held on Wednesday to discuss this year’s Smith Memorial Student Union room allocation to student organizations. Smith Space Committee Chair Pv Jantz and SMSU Operations Manager Mark Russell led the meeting, which was attended by representatives of PSU’s student groups.

This year, tentative allocation decisions will be made by May 2. Groups then have until May 15 to appeal if they believe that they have been treated unfairly or that the committee did not understand their group’s needs.

Decisions are finalized by June 2, and student groups are allowed to move into new spaces in the two weeks before the beginning of fall term.

Over 40 student groups applied for space this year. There are 44 offices available and most measure around 100 square feet, according to Jantz.

Most student groups who already have offices will be remaining in those same offices this year, Russell added.

“It’s a lot less dramatic than you might imagine,” Russell said.

Jantz described the room allocation process, which grants student groups office space in SMSU. The allocation process generally occurs every two years, but rooms can be re-allocated if a violation occurs or if new space opens up. The Smith Space Committee attempts to accommodate all requests from student groups, according to Jantz.

“The most important voice in this committee is the students,” he said.

Space is allocated to student groups who meet certain criteria. For instance, they must be recognized and funded by the Student Fee Committee and must have a yearly budget of at least $1,000. Groups must also have been recognized and active for at least two years prior to their request for space, and the space must be used for students.

Once the Smith Space Committee receives room applications, it reviews them and holds a town hall meeting, such as Wednesday’s, to explain the process and give students a chance to speak and ask questions.

This year there is some uncertainty as to whether or not the Office of Information Technologies will be moving out of the SMSU basement and, if it does, whether that space will be designated for student groups.

Attendees had many questions about the possible new space and ideas about how it should be used if it is designated for student groups. Ideas included using the space for additional offices and storage, creating a practice room for groups such as the PSU Debate Team and Model UN or creating a multi-use student group space that will allow groups to collaborate and share resources.

“We would love to establish some collective space,” Jantz said.

The Smith Space Committee will not be making any plans for the possible new space until its availability is finalized, according to Jantz and Russell.

Jantz encouraged students to become involved in the Smith Space Committee or as voices within their respective groups.

“We need to get students involved,” he said. “Period.” ?