Student Government (SG) announced a potential rock wall to be built on campus which stirs up controversy on whether it is an investment students will enjoy or resent.
The rock wall would be located in the Campus Recreational Center and cost approximately $239,500. The money would be collected through the Activity and Services fee (A&S). Students pay a flat fee of $7 a semester and $12.08 per credit hour.
Meka Nwoke, the chairman of the SG Relations committee, shared the survey to the class Facebook pages to determine the probability of whether students were on board with the decision.
According to Nwoke, the rock wall idea came from a suggestion submitted to the executive branch.
“SG has talked to students from the rock wall club and students in general about how it is challenging for students to rock climb off campus because the choices are limited,” Nwoke said.
The approval of the rock wall required seeking student opinions and the awaiting final decision from SG Senate on whether the addition is what the student body wants. Nwoke said the survey received a yes from 572 students and a no from 104. He also said this was the largest participation survey to date.
“The Senate tends to vote in accordance with how students react, but it could go either way,” Nwoke said.
On Facebook, students were not pleased with the idea and suggested that SG focus more on real issues. In response to the comments about the ongoing parking situation, Nwoke said he does not think it is a problem SG could solve from A&S funding alone.
“I do not think SG has the financial power to build a parking garage,” Nwoke said. “It is important to keep having the conversation and not ignore the issue as well.”
Adam Saunders, alumnus and a previous SG senator, said he does not think the rock wall is a necessary expense that will benefit the student body in its whole capacity.
“A&S funds are better spent distributed to student organizations,” Saunders said. “They put on so many events that draw in diverse groups of people.”
Rachel Vogie, a senior majoring in management, said she also wish that more funds would be out toward parking rather than a rock wall.
“I understand it’s a selling point for a lot of campuses, but USF is a commuter school so it would be more valuable to have extra parking for people that do come to campus,” Vogie said.
Stephen Wong, the key communications officer for the rock climbing club, said an on-campus rock wall will benefit all students and not just the organization.
“There are plenty of students that enjoy rock climbing that are not in the club as well,” Wong said. “It is something for avid climbers or something new for people that want to implement a new exercise for their personal health.”
From an economical standpoint, Wong said he believes the rock wall will reduce the burden of costs because of the abundance of equipment that is needed to climb efficiently.
“The rock climbing gym that people use is at Vertical Adventures, which requires a daily or monthly fee which is a lot of money to put down,” Wong said. “This is well within the SG budget, so funding shouldn’t be an issue.”
According to Wong, an adequate amount of USF students work for Vertical Adventures, therefore he believes USF could sufficiently create a rock climbing gym.
“The staff would be easily obtainable and a lot of people would benefit from using the equipment then people would expect,” Wong said.