As you all know, the University administration has plans for a new fitness center. The bill, “An Act to Build a New Fitness/Intramural Facility”, submitted by SGA Senator Nathan Cole but admittedly researched and written by SGA President Clay Stubblefield, proposes not only the building of a significantly larger fitness center on land we have not yet acquired, but the levying of a new student fee to pay for it: $100 per semester.
I won’t lie to you: I initially voted in favor of the bill, but since then every time that a friend, neighbor, or constituent from the College of Arts and Sciences shares with me their opinion on the matter, I wish that I hadn’t. In fact, upon extended reflection, the only ones who seem to feel vehemently about the new center are those students who are already involved in several different organizations on campus.
It is my belief in SGA politics and the American republican tradition that calls me to veto this proposal. Not only as an individual, but also as an elected representative do I think that a new fitness center is an unnecessary expense. I was elected to represent students of the Arts and Sciences, who I routinely consult about what SGA could do for them. My constituents believe the idea rushed and students pressured into voting for something undesired: a new fitness center is not what the people want.
There are many things at Tech that need improvement more than our fitness center. Yes, we do need a new science building. Yes, a green pedestrian campus would be beneficial both for foot traffic, landscape aesthetic, and overall campus health. And of course, additional parking is much needed. But what about a larger and newer Performing Arts complex? Additional housing for the overflow of students? Or the creation of new and innovative majors, such as the very successful agritourism major, a possible Film Studies and Production major, or the very first university departments – Classics and Philosophy?
I love Tech. It has been a blessing to my life, and I would love to see it grow and continue to improve the lives of Tennesseans, Americans, and International students alike. Many improvements can be made, but this one seems to truly be just re-feathering the eagle, not teaching it how to soar.