The 90-million-dollar expansion of the San Manuel Student Union (SMSU) construction promises new activities and student spaces by August of 2021.
The amenities and resources included in the plan of the new SMSU are based on student opinions gathered in person and via surveys.
The expansion of the SMSU includes a new three-story building directly across from the current student union building. There will be a pub with outdoor seating, game room, eight-lane bowling alley, dining and lounge space, and a new bookstore on the first floor.
The second and third floors will have a multi-purpose conference center, offices for the Associated Students Inc., student government, cultural centers, and student success centers.
Although it won’t be ready for another 2 years, sophomore Berenice Chavez had some thoughts on the student union expansion.
“I’m excited to see my school grow and that they’re really trying to improve campus life for everyone,” Chavez said.
Executive Director Aaron Burgess went on to describe what the beginning steps were and how this project originally came to be.
“So, every year we take a group of student leaders to conferences around the country,” Burgess explained. “We belong to an organization called Associated College Union International… and they come together to discuss ideas, facilities, programs, and all these different sorts of things student affairs related”.
He described how these conferences always take place on these beautiful campuses and the students representing CSUSB would notice and ask why CSUSB doesn’t offer many of these amenities that these other schools are providing for their students.
“Back in 2012 they voted to start a feasibility study that would look into the possibility of what it would take to expand it (SMSU) and if it was even possible,” Burgess said.
In 2015, a more comprehensive study on the types of services students would want to see on campus started as well. The results showed the need for more student dedicated programs, expanded food services, more affordable books, and a bowling alley.
A group of about 5,004 students participated students participated in this survey and finalized what should be brought onto campus based on those votes. On fall of 2015, CSUSB had 20,024 enrolled students so almost exactly 25 percent of the students on campus actually got to vote.
“There is a big push to increase the number of clubs for students to participate in… some of the studies have shown that students participating in co-curricular activities have a better chance at success,” said Burgess
Currently, none of the clubs are housed or have their own dedicated area in the SMSU. If they want to host something or any sort of meeting, they have to go through the Office of Student Engagement to get it approved. With this expansion, clubs will be able to have their own space to call their own.
With CSUSB’s student average GPA being at 3.21, it’s no wonder why they’re putting an extra emphasis on making sure students have these resources available. New jobs on campus will also be created, approximately 100 of them.
Aaron Burgess continued on to shortly describe what the new SMSU will offer, food-wise. He said “…we’ve been involved in conversations with some major brands to bring this full menu to the pub… we will also bring The Habit burger on”.
Self-proclaimed “food lover” Christian Ruiz, senior, says that although he won’t be here when it officially opens, he hopes to stop by at least once to see and try out all the new food offerings available. “I’ve heard a lot and yet nothing all at the same time about what we’re getting on campus,” said Ruiz.
Many students, aware of the new and improved Student Union, could care less about the completion of this new building. Senior Yesica Gonzalez explained, “I’m not going to be here when it’s completed but I have to deal with all this construction.”
With CSUSB being made up of 90% commuters, the expansion of the Student Union provides hope for students.