Last week, campus organizations finished settling into their temporary quarters after months of moving out of Eshleman Hall, marking another step toward planned renovation of Lower Sproul Plaza.
Student groups began moving to Hearst Gymnasium in the spring — a transition that has left many student groups with substantially less space than they had before. The limitation required considerable adjustments in inventory as well as a fine-tuning of personal bubbles, student group members said.
“It’s a big change, and change is difficult,” said ASUC Student Action Senator Emily Chen. “The beginning of the year was really hectic, but now people are getting used to working alongside each other in the tight space.”
According to Briana Mullen, ASUC chief deputy of facilities and space management, the ASUC Senate is only one of 300 groups residing in the gym. Mullen said that space priority was given to groups based on certain factors, including their range of services and confidentiality requirements.
“The biggest problem is the lack of space for student groups,” said Jason Bellet, an ASUC SQUELCH! senator. “As outdated and seismically unsafe as Eshleman Hall was, it had space.”
Jessica Hamel, coordinator of the Student to Student Peer Health Counseling group, said the move forced the group to organize its inventory and throw away material that hadn’t been used for years.
“We’ve been in Eshleman since the ’80s, so our stuff is pretty old,” Hamel said. “This is a chance to revamp everything.”
However, some organizations have raised concerns that moving so quickly to a more confined space will affect the ability of organizations to store their resources.
To address this, the transition team allotted storage units to some groups to store materials for tabling and fliering, according to ASUC Executive Vice President Justin Sayarath. The ASUC also implemented a new tabling program, which allows groups to rent tables easily.
Yet, Sayarath said, the team is still struggling to ensure the safety of the building while student groups acclimate to the new floor plan.
“In Eshleman Hall, it was very straightforward,” Sayarath said. “There was one door. Now there are a lot of safety issues because there are multiple doors. Nobody knows what these doors mean but me.”
After groups have settled into their new spaces, Sayarath, Mullen and others in the transition team will analyze whether all the available space has been accounted for. If a surplus is found, the team will redistribute space through a new application process. The ASUC will hold a town hall meeting in mid-October to discuss how groups are assimilating.
Contact Virgie Hoban at [email protected]
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