Whether it be the scattered groups of skateboarders found racing around the Hinman College Quad, musicians seeking better acoustics or the ballroom dance team rehearsing in the halls of the Fine Arts Building and the University Union, finding alternatives to reserved meeting spaces is a everyday task for a number of Binghamton University students.
Student groups, organizations and individuals are increasingly resorting to utilizing public campus spaces to pursue their hobbies after competing for reserved spaces with numerous other groups.
In the halls of the Fine Arts Building and the University Union, the Ballroom Dance Association locks in and concentrates on learning routines on a daily basis, even as students continually enter and exit the space around them. Bailey Abernethy, ‘19, a first-year graduate student studying education, was a member of the Ballroom Dance Association during her undergraduate years at BU, and wrote in an email that the club often makes the best of an unfavorable situation.
“We love dancing in [the] Fine Arts [Building] because it is a great building for expressing all sorts of art forms, and it has the most space for us to dance in since we cannot reserve rooms to practice in very often,” she wrote.
Stephanie Gonzalez, president of the Ballroom Dance Association and a senior majoring in psychology, said room availability, especially for BU’s many dance groups, is difficult to distribute evenly, since there is a limited number of rooms large enough that meet the requirements of the dancers.
“We have tried reaching out to the SA several times for suggestions to compromise and have a neutral party involved in the issue, but these ideas were not addressed and nothing has changed,” Gonzalez said. “It’s very frustrating because we all want a solution and for everyone to be happy.”
Student groups looking to reserve space in buildings around campus must make reservations through different University departments, depending on when and where they are requesting space. Spaces in the Union, for example, are scheduled through the BThere website, while rooms and areas in the East Gym are requested through Campus Recreation.
Unlike chartered student organizations on campus, individual students cannot reserve rooms in the Union or other buildings. Students can reserve study rooms in the University’s libraries, but often, these areas are not structured for alternate activities. Becca Appel, a freshman majoring in human development, has been playing guitar in the hallway of the Fine Arts Building since her arrival in August. However, Appel said it was not the lack of available space that drew her there. Instead, she was attracted by the hallway’s acoustics.
“Honestly, the acoustics are just better in here,” Appel said. “It’s a chance to get out of my dorm too which is nice too.”
For groups that need specifically designed spaces to conduct meetings and activities, everyone eventually gets scheduled somewhere — but it might not be at the most convenient time. Mary Bayer, president of the women’s basketball club team and a junior majoring in integrative neuroscience, said her team has to deal with a 10 p.m. to 12 a.m. practice time.
“Originally we never wanted the late practice time, but after a couple years, it was the best option for us,” Bayer said. “Gym availability is really tight, we have over 30 girls on our team that come to practice and some days we just get one court, even with the late time, with two hoops. That makes it real hard to run practice.”