Innocuously pursuing some scholarly ends at a table alone in the Commons, I was recently approached by two female students. “Can we sit with you?” they asked. My ego swelled until they explained that there was literally nowhere else to sit. As we talked, awkward, like people in line at an airport, we found we had a common beef with the Commons: there’s never anywhere to sit. At about 11:45 a.m. every day, the place is swarmed. People crowd in large groups around pathetically small tables, pushing far more chairs around them than rationality could ever justify. For those of us not dining with 24 of our closest friends on any given day, pickings are slim indeed for a seat, much less an actual table.
These are strange observations when the school has so proudly trumpeted the impending arrival of the prestige-garnering Kennesaw football team. Slated to kick off in 2014 with a price tag between $7 million to $10 million, the program promises to build a program that will attract quality student athletes and generate income for the school. But, one cannot help but ask, is that the best use of school resources? It takes 30 minutes to park a car on campus, and the school’s culinary amenities are lacking by even low standards. Like a government intent on rebuilding nations abroad while the homeland falls apart, the school mistakes its best interests by pursuing a football team while basic facilities are so lacking.
Beginning as a humble community college, the university has changed over the years, gaining a measure of esteem over the last half-century or so. Transitioning from that community college status has increased demand for campus services that cater to more traditional college students; they live on campus, eat on campus, and they want more UGA and less Chattanooga Tech in their college casserole. The creation of a football program perfectly reflects the school’s desire to encourage these changes, and cultivate the cachet accorded by respected university status. But to seek the outward appearance of an established institution while neglecting more basic student amenities does a disservice to us loyal KSU students who’d much rather be able to sit while we eat lunch than have more opportunities to paint our shirtless torsos black and gold on certain Saturdays.
We do not need valet parking and a French chef on call—simply enlarging the Commons and improving its ability to cater to a student body the size of a small city, and adding parking options more convenient to class and event locations would do the trick. I can’t help but scratch my head when these issues go unaddressed, and yet the football program finds little resistance in getting approved and implemented. New and expensive sports programs are great for the university’s self-image, but they do little to improve in real terms the experience of everyday students just trying to make it to class on time.