Students will be able to vote on whether or not to expand the UU on Wednesday and Thursday. | Courtesy Photo

If students vote in favor of a fee increase, 160,000 square feet will be added to the Julian A. McPhee University Union (UU) by 2022.

The UU referendum, or vote, will take place on Feb. 24 and 25 through the Cal Poly Portal. Students can vote on either of these days from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Board of Directors Vice Chair Jana Colombini said.

Associated Students, Inc (ASI) student government set a goal to get 40 percent of the student body to vote on the changes to the UU. It is a significant jump from other universities that have about a 12-15 percent participation in referendums, University Union Advisory Board (UUAB) Chair Sevelyn VanRonk said.

As soon as the ballot closes on the last day, the referendum results will be posted on the website.

In order to provide students with background on the UU project and purpose of the vote, student-led teams were formed, comprised of student government, ASI student managers and UU Advisory Council students.

“They are outreaching to clubs, organizations and classes to give presentations about this project, the components of it and how to vote,” Colombini said. “We are trying to educate students as much as possible, so they know this going on and they can make an informed decision and so we can get that high number of voting.”

Additionally, there will be two open forums on Wednesday, Feb. 10 from 5-6 p.m. and on Thursday, Feb. 18 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. All campus community members are encouraged to attend. A couple weeks before the vote, ASI will have booths in the UU and near Dexter Lawn.

With a list of more than 500 clubs and organizations, ASI has lots of clubs to reach out to, ASI Government and Programs Assistant Director Michelle Crawford said.

“We reached out to Poly Reps, athletics, sport clubs, greek life and clubs,” Crawford said. “We have already received a lot of emails from students asking for us to come to their groups so that students can make an educated decision when they vote.”

The future of the UU rests in the hands of current Cal Poly students. The UU project will continue and move onto the next phase only if students vote in favor for a fee increase.

While the fee will be an additional $199 per quarter, it would not be implemented until 2020, VanRonk said.

“I think the most important thing is to really realize what you would be paying and what comes along with it,” VanRonk said. “This has been a student-run project and there has been so much data collection and research behind every single one of the items with student feedback since day one.”

The timeline of the UU project reflects a similar process that the Recreation Center underwent.

“I think it’s important that students realize that this is the exact same way the recreation center came about, students voted on increasing a fee for the future students, they voted and then they graduated,” VanRonk said “But future students like ourselves get to enjoy the recreation center, so we really are making a decision for future generations.”

UU renovations would occur in two phases. Phase one consists of additional square footage by way of demolishing the Dining Complex (Bldg. 19), creating a new face of the current UU along Mustang Way and new construction from Chumash Auditorium to Via Carta Mall. Phase two would consist of renovations to the current UU.

“Students voting in this referendum are essentially deciding the fate of the UU,” Colombini said. “They are making an impact that could last and impact future Cal Poly students for years to come.”

For any additional questions, reference or contact Sevelyn VanRonk, Jana Colombini or Michelle Crawford.

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