For the first time since SESLOC Federal Credit Union moved out last year, there will be a vacant room in the University Union (UU).
UU Advisory Board (UUAB) vice chair Solomon Reda said Poly Escapes will relocate to the new Recreation Center, so the current room will be empty by winter quarter.
The Cal Poly Pride Center is hoping to fill in the vacant space. According to mechanical engineering freshman and Pride Center ally Michael Friedman, members are working hard at trying to get the new space.
“The space gets filled up pretty quickly,” Friedman said. “We’ve outgrown the space. More people are coming each year. It’s not living up to par with our needs.”
With a capacity of 15 to 20 people, the center’s current room cannot accommodate the increasing traffic.
Aerospace engineering senior Jason Bertels said the lack of space allows for only one or two conversations at a time in the room. As a result, some people don’t want to come in since it looks less inviting, and they want to be polite.
“I was asking one of my friends why he doesn’t hang out at the Pride Center, and he said that every time he looks in, it looked like there were people already engaged in conversation and didn’t want to interrupt,” Bertels said.
Bertels also said one time he came into the Pride Center to print out something for a class, but because all the computers in the Pride Center were taken, he had to find another computer somewhere else and was late to class.
Inconveniences are daily occurrences in the Pride Center, according to members.
Biological sciences junior Keanna Hill said there aren’t enough places to sit comfortably.
“We have a lot of people resorting to sitting on laps — which is inefficient if we’re trying to do homework — or sitting on the floor, which is a fire hazard,” Hill said.
The Pride Center has grown, with 100 new volunteers signed up this year — a feat which biomedical engineering senior and Pride Center counselor Aaron Rowley said has never happened before.
“We’re seeing that spill over into actually using that space to do organizers or mingle,” Rowley said. “The issue as of now is definitely space.”
The Pride Center has grant money to get more computers and printers, but it can’t get anything until it has more space, Rowley said.
Rowley is one of the leading voices in lobbying for the board to allow the Pride Center to use the vacant Poly Escapes room.
“There was an effort to do this last year, but a lot of them left, so I’m trying to restart it,” Rowley said.
So far, the Pride Center is the only organization in the UU that has lobbied for the Poly Escapes room.
The group gave a presentation to the board as to why it needs the room, and members plan on writing opinion pieces for local news outlets.
If the board were to decide to make a recommendation for the Pride Center to get the vacant room, they would have to rezone the room. The Poly Escapes room is currently designated as a commercial zone, and the Pride Center is not a commercial organization.
“The Pride Center came and spoke to us last year, and the decision was not to rezone downstairs,” said political science and philosophy senior Karen Mesrobian, the UUAB chair. “But we want them to voice their concerns and problems. We’re always open to hear from students.”
The Board is taking a lot of different options into consideration, including a business and a 24-hour lounge.
One business being considered is an ice cream parlor, Mesrobian said.
When the SESLOC Federal Credit Union moved out last year, there was a lot of work being done to put an ice cream parlor in its place, she said. Chase Bank ended up moving in instead.
“It’s more of an ongoing discussion,” Reda said. “Our biggest thing is getting student feedback — a balance between what the students want and what is feasible.”
This is the first time the Board has had to make a recommendation on what to do with the new space.
Once the board makes a recommendation, it goes to the Associated Students, Inc. executive director, who then gives it to Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong for approval.
As of now, there is no date to vote on a recommendation set.
“It’s important to realize that there are certain needs with groups of students that need to be heard,” Rowley said. “They’re willing to listen to us.”