Correction: This story has been modified from its original version. — Correction: This story has been modified from its original version. Virginia Tech has a $1.05 billion budget. The Collegiate Times regrets this error.
Virginia Tech students may soon find themselves with a place to study 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
SGA president Brandon Carroll and SGA senator Melissa Yates have been working since 2008 on SGA legislation to make Torgersen Hall, specifically the first floor atrium, open and secure overnight, making it the first ever 24/7 study facility on campus.
Carroll is confident the measure can be implemented by the beginning of next semester.
“I think it’ll be implemented in the fall,” Carroll said.
Carroll presented the topic to university President Charles Steger and others as top priority to students during the University Council meeting on Feb. 15.
“This is the biggest issue for students, and it would take $50,000 out of a $1.05 billion budget,” Carroll said.
Yates also presented to the Commission on Student Affairs during their Feb. 18 meeting.
“I think it would be in poor taste on the part of the university to not pass this,” Yates said. “I see the student body having much more confidence in the administration after they pass this. The only upsetting thing is that this took two years.”
WORKING TOWARD CHANGE
Yates began examining the option of using Torgersen Hall in 2008 as the 24-hour facility when she discovered through word-of-mouth that it was already being used informally past its closing time of midnight.
“There were engineers telling me they were going to Torg to study because people were still using it until 5 (a.m.) when the cleaning staff kicked them out,” she said.
“Clearly students made their choice,” Yates said. “They had no study place so they went and made one.”
Yates wrote the legislation and it was passed after a month-long process of review. After it was passed, however, university administrators took no action.
“The SGA has no real power,” Yates said. “Legislation is usually dead after we pass it. Unless you are immediately pursuing the relevant administrators, nothing will happen. It just ends up on some person’s desk.”
Carroll explained that the governance system could be frustrating for students to make changes.
“We say we invent the future, but we never set a precedent,” he said.
He also said the SGA’s voice is not easily heard in the administration.
“It takes so long to maneuver the system,” he said. “The governance system is not helpful for students.”
Carroll said SGA members such as himself and Yates “have to be very intrinsically motivated” to make changes.
“People have to take initiative,” he said. “It’s like we have to have so much more initiative than I think we need to be having.”
“It’s not SGA’s fault that when we say something, nothing happens,” Carroll said. “Everything should have a student voice.”
Carroll said that although he’s frustrated with the amount of time it takes for legislation to pass through the administration, he is excited to see a 24/7 study facility for students as one of his last acts as SGA president.
“It’s my biggest thing that I’m trying to end with,” he said.