Student Government to contribute $400,000 to new student space

The+new+student+space+should+be+completed+by+fall+2022%2C+according+to+Dean+of+Students+Brian+Samble.+%28Photo+by+Caroline+Burns+22%29

The new student space should be completed by fall 2022, according to Dean of Students Brian Samble. (Photo by Caroline Burns ’22)

Michael Antonacci, Contributing Writer

Lafayette Student Government passed a resolution on Dec. 2 endorsing the creation of the new student space in the basement of Farinon, voting to contribute $400,000 to the project.

The pledge is contingent on the following stipulations: at least three representatives are allowed to be present and active at all planning meetings, multipurpose rooms with partitioning are included in the design; a sound system with Bluetooth and plug-in capabilities is included, the space is available 24 hours a day and complies with PASA demands and a plaque expressing gratitude for Student Government’s contribution is erected.

Student Government President Flor De Maria Caceres Godoy ’22 explained that the $400,000 figure was reached after close cooperation with Dean of Students Brian Samble.

“The suggestion came from Dean Samble, the architects and the Finance and Administration Division. We were looking into how much money we had in our reserves and we knew that we would still have over half of our amount left,” Caceres said. “Four hundred thousand seemed like a good number.”

Caceres noted the importance of Student Government’s reserves in the financial process. She also pointed out that the significant lack of campus activity during the pandemic increased Student Government’s reserves.

“The reserves serve as an endowment for us,” Caceres said. “We can tap into it if we have more funds requested than we anticipated. It’s like our safety net.” 

The project is expected to cost between $1.7 and $2 million in total. The rest of the funds will be covered by the college, Caceres said.

Caceres hopes that furniture, artwork and other decorations in the space can be purchased from BIPOC-owned businesses in the Lehigh Valley. 

“Lafayette is looking to rebrand its name and values to promote social justice,” Caceres said. “Let’s translate those types of values into the student space.”

Clarifying the rationale behind the conditions for the funds, Caceres explained that “when students have tried to become involved in the decision-making process, there have been times when their voices have not been valued.”

“The administration looks to us as student liaisons,” Caceres continued. “We decided to put up these non-negotiable terms that we knew students would want to see. We wanted to establish those expectations and boundaries with whoever it is that is going to be helping us create this new space.”

Grace Tomasetti ’22, a member of Student Government who co-sponsored the resolution, recommended that students should fill out the survey to share their opinion about the plan for the space. She also noted that there will be upcoming public forums for students to voice their perspectives.