Necessary renovations to the Alferd Packard Grill and a potential ban on cigarette smoking on campus were the highlights of this weeks’ University of Colorado Student Union meeting.
Carlos Garcia, the director of the UMC, explained the goals of the renovations to the Grill.
“A lot of the changes we hope this problem will address are operational and cosmetic,” said Garcia.
The renovation of the Grill was first proposed five years ago with a budget of $15 million, according to Garcia. The project has been scaled down to a smaller-scale renovation plan, averaging about $2 million.
The renovations will focus mainly on the structure of the Grill and the seating area. The goal is to make it more inviting for students by including more pockets of intimate seating, with less round cafeteria-style tables and more two-seater and four-seater tables.
The general plan is to improve lighting, include more power outlets for computers and generally make a better use of space.
“In our dining halls we have 916 seats,” said Garcia. “When you walk by in an hour, it looks pretty filled, but in reality only 500 to 600 seats are in use.”
According to Garcia, the renovations would be paid for by food service revenues, the UMC and a modest student fee increase, though the specific budget details are not available at this time and have yet to be presented to the University and other responsible parties.
Larger scale renovations will be necessary in about five years. Large pieces of equipment are past their prime and the kitchen was not designed to accommodate for the amount of employees and students at CU.
Garcia said the loading dock in particular is “extremely dangerous.”
“Food services continue to decline, we know that if we don’t make these renovations we will not be a feasible food option,” Garcia said.
The second issue at hand is what to do about CU’s tobacco policy.
Daniel Ramos, a senior sociology major, and the chief of staff at UCSU introduced a resolution previously passed in the Boulder faculty assembly suggesting a designated smoking area or a tobacco free campus.
The legislative board had many questions regarding this resolution; in particularly creating a snowball effect of campus bans and how the designated smoking area would affect class attendance.
Ramos responded that the resolution isn’t taking one position or another and that it is following a “culture shift model.” According to Ramos, Oklahoma State University used this “cultural shift model” to help get smoking off campus.
The idea of allowing the entire student body to vote on the resolution was suggested and while there was no direct ruling at the meeting, it is to be further addressed at another time.
Steve Bosley, the chair of the Board of Regents, spoke to UCSU regarding the state’s reluctance to fund higher education.
“Investing in higher education could be the engine that gets us out of this economic problem,” Bosley said.
He went on to reassure the legislative board that President Bruce Benson has been working with the state to encourage higher education funding.
“Bureaucracies don’t tend to be forward-looking but since President Benson has been here he has been forward looking,” Bosley said.
Bosley suggested implementing a policy similar to one Georgia has enacted, where lottery money funds higher education.
Currently the lottery revenue in Colorado goes to national parks and open spaces. Bosley suggested putting the money on hold for three to five years and then using the money to fund higher education.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Sara Kassabian at Sara.firstname.lastname@example.org.