As university administrators discuss possible office relocations on campus, retail locations and space used for student services in the Marshall Student Center (MSC) are on the chopping block and Student Government (SG) has created a survey to gather student feedback about potential changes.
The survey, launched Friday afternoon and posted on SG’s social media accounts, states the MSC has been chosen as a “temporary relocation” option of the International Services office, which provides advising and assistance to approximately 2,100 international students at USF.
The proposal for relocation of the office, which is now housed on the first floor of the Patel Center for Global Solutions, requests approximately $1,000,000 in Capital Improvement Trust Fund (CITF) fees. The $8.00 flat fee is collected at registration to make improvements to buildings and infrastructure on campus, including renovations to the Tampa campus Library, MSC, wellness and recreational activities.
Because of limited space, the relocation of the International Services office could dislocate one or more existing MSC retail service locations, such as the pharmacy or bank in the east wing of the first floor, or space in the Student Life Tower, such as the Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement. For this reason, SG created the survey to gauge student opinion before the proposal goes to the Board of Governors this week.
David Housman, SG’s chief financial officer and a junior majoring in accounting, said the survey will remain online for a few days to make sure SG can gather as large of a sample as possible.
“The survey is voicing student opinion, and as Student Government, it is our job to capture the voice of the students and how they feel,” Housman said. “Such a decision as the allocation of millions of dollars for improvements on the campus — I think it should be something that really targets the interest of all students.”
Housman said SG was consulted by USF administration regarding the proposal, and while no final decision has been made regarding what location in the MSC could be replaced with International Services, it is still important that students give their input for what services should stay in or potentially leave the MSC.
“If the students feel that (the relocation) might not serve their best interests, then I think that should be heard,” Housman said. “And hopefully will be heard by the Board of Governors when making their allocation.”
MSC Director Sujit Chemburkar said the proposal has also been discussed with MSC management, and a lot of bridges would need to be crossed before a final decision is made.
“We’re so far early (in the process), there’s been conversation about (this relocation) occurring, but there are a lot of details needed before this happens,” Chemburkar said. “We’re looking at some spots in the retail area to accommodate all the needs requested.”
He said because the MSC is the central location on campus, it is easier for students to access and get services they need from the facility.
“It is a little bit more centrally located, so I would envision why that would be the reason the MSC came up,” he said.
Former student body President Brian Goff said the idea was
proposed numerous times while he was in office, and SG worked to make sure the CITF fund increase proposed in February would not fund the relocation of International Services.
“There was always pressure on us to kind of just roll over and allow this to happen, and there was a conflict, because we didn’t want it and we knew the students didn’t want it,” Goff said. “All four years while I was at the university, I had heard complaints that the Marshall Center was sterile and it kind of felt like an airport terminal. We’re
starting to get to a point where students are starting to feel at home there.”
Goff said USF has been working to create more space for international and INTO students and had plans to move USF World out of the Patel Center by July 1. Goff said USF World takes up much of the first and second floor of the building, and the reason behind the relocation is unclear to him.12