Planning Council discusses campus improvement

Septembre Russell

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The Linfield Planning Council met to discuss the plans set by President Thomas Hellie and the goals the college has set in its strategic planning in October.

One of the strategic planning targets, senior Morgan St. Jean, Planning Council member, said, is facilitating the improvement of student life. Topics of discussion included improving student health resources, transportation to Portland and developing Riley Student Center.

The Planning Council discussed the health center’s hours and the services it provides to students, St. Jean said.

She said the faculty was mostly unaware that transportation to Portland was such an issue, and the
council spent time acknowledging the matter. St. Jean also said it was agreed that these concerns were  not within the control of the council.

“Transportation [is] more of a student government issue,” she said. “But it [seems] very feasible to create a bus that [goes] once or twice a month to Portland.”

The Associated Students of Linfield College creates and runs shuttle schedules during holiday breaks, St. Jean said. The idea is to make the shuttle more frequent.

“They could decide to pay somebody to run a bus up to Portland every month,” she said.

St. Jean said she brought up the topic of a student center since lots of long-term plans for science buildings exist and for the transformation of Northup Hall.

“I was just curious to know if there was a student center in the works,” she said. “I know a couple years ago a student tried to get something off the ground.”

Her understanding, St. Jean said, is that Riley Student Center is designated as a student area because O’Riley’s Café, the Game Room and the Associated Students of Linfield College offices are located there. The location of the Game Room, in relation to other things, is slightly awkward, she said, and the layout of the Fred Meyer Lounge is non-conducive for informal gatherings.

“In recent years, I have been very pleased that there has been an influx of dances in there, and I think that’s a great use for that space,” St. Jean said. “I think there could definitely be some improvement in how Riley is set up.”

Sophomore Celeste Wilson said she goes to the Fred Meyer Lounge once or twice a week to do homework to avoid walking to the library between classes. She said the  lounge is not user-friendly because it lacks table space.

Students have limited room to spread out their work. Textbooks and notebooks must be balanced on laps, which grows uncomfortable and makes getting work done an arduous task.

“I think there is a lot of space that could be better utilized, but [Riley Student Center] definitely has potential to be more of a student center than it is,” Wilson said. “I think it could be improved with better seating arrangements and more tables that would be accessible for doing homework.”

St. Jean said the Planning Council would not be charged with creating a new student center and the details were not conferred on as it acknowledged the task was more suited for ASLC. In years past the student senate has had committees focused on the issue.

“As a group, we talked about, maybe sometime in the future, Fred Meyer Lounge could be rearranged to make it more [like a] student center,” she said. “I think it could be rethought of in other ways.”

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