Editor’s note: This column is the weekly chance for Associated Students to write an article about current projects, accomplishments and opportunities for other students to get involved.
This week I want to inform all of you about something that is going to be a serious problem in the upcoming years. There is a project that is currently being worked on called the San Clemente Graduate Student Housing Project. This project would provide 972 beds for single graduate students over a 312,610-square foot area, on what is currently Storke Field.
The proposed site for this housing would be along El Colegio Road where students currently ride their bikes to and from FT, play intramural softball, have ultimate frisbee and rugby tournaments, golf class and countless other things. While some athletes think that they can leap tall buildings, it would be quite a challenge to maintain athletic competition when a laundry room is on home plate and frisbees have to be thrown from room to room instead of on an open field.
The consolation for taking away this structured field space that allows 12 youth soccer teams the ability to play simultaneously on Saturday mornings is that the project would allow for the area behind the dirt parking lot by Harder Stadium to be turned into field space. This space has similar square footage to where the buildings would be, but it cannot accommodate the same type of fields.
The housing needs to go somewhere, but it doesn’t have to take up such a substantial amount of field space and create a claustrophobic city feeling. There have been nearly a dozen other arrangements considered that were shot down for one bad reason or another. So the worst option, in my opinion, is the one that might be chosen.
As a student who uses the fields, I hope to see them there for future students to use. As a community member who supports youth soccer, I would hate to take away their playing fields. As a guy who prefers fields to buildings, I would hate to travel down El Colegio Road and feel like I’m in a major city. As an ex-tenant of Francisco Torres, I know that the bike ride is long enough in the morning without being sent around a new housing project.
As a sports fan, I want to be driving by my beloved fields and find out that we are hosting a tournament instead of having it hidden behind some buildings and spread out over three other locations to get the required field space. As the president of Associated Students, I want everybody to know what might be taken away from us and to let you know that there is still time to prevent this atrocity.
Legislative Council is working on a position paper to make a statement about the undergraduate stance on the housing site. All students are invited to come speak about items on the agenda during open forum at Legislative Council meetings every Wednesday night at 6:30 in Flying A Studios on the UCen second floor. With the help, support and ideas of other students we can be even more effective in developing this campus the way it should be and avoiding serious mistakes.
I am also in the process of forming a President’s Cabinet. The Cabinet will be empowered to work on special projects to improve the school and to assist me in keeping fully informed on all current campus and local issues. If you are interested in working on saving the fields, starting your own project or getting involved in other issues of campus life, please come by the Associated Students office. My office hours are 11 a.m.-noon every weekday, 1-2 p.m. MWF and 2-3 p.m. on Tuesday.
Brian Hampton is the Associated Students president.