With student body elections happening just around the corner, most candidates are advertising for their chance to gain a lead position in student government. Of the many candidates I know, many of them are continuing their support for the Phase II Fitness and Wellness Center expansion. However, most students are not even aware of what this means. To clarify, an expansion to the current Fitness and Wellness Center was proposed last year and voted on during the student body elections last spring. What people were not made aware of was that, if approved, this expansion would cost every student $130 per year on top of tuition and the $12 recreation fee. While the Fitness and Wellness Center gets quite a bit of traffic, it is in no way utilized by everyone on campus. In fact, I have used the gym a total of four times in my four years attending Eastern. I know for a fact that I am not the only person without the time or desire to use the recreation facilities on campus.

Secondly, I am also not the only person who will be graduating before this extension is completed. I will most likely never step foot inside the new addition; yet, I will be funding part of it. The school’s solution to this issue is allowing alumni’s to use the gym for equivalent semesters that they paid for once the expansion is completed. However, not every student enrolled is from Richmond, or Kentucky, and for some, not even the U.S. Furthermore, not every student attending Eastern lives on campus. I don’t. Some students commute two or more hours every day to attend classes at this school. In what way is it convenient for these students, or myself to utilize the gym on campus rather than one closer to home?

When I started here in the Fall of 2008, I paid $3,040 for full time tuition, per semester. With budget cuts through the state and increases through the school, I now pay $3,480 per semester for the same amount of classes. On top of a $400 plus increase, added fees that are not included in tuition (such as the recreation fee), the school feels the need to impose another unwanted fee on the majority of students. In addition, a $25 operating fee will be charged once construction is done and it can be used.

As if we need further proof of the lack of student say in this decision, the approval was based on the 2011 elections. The extension was approved with less than 1,000 votes! According to multiple sites, EKU has an approximate enrollment of over 16,000. That means that .06% of the student body voted and approved something that would cost every single student hundreds of dollars. I believe the entire process behind this addition was poorly thought out and even more poorly represented to the student body as a whole. There are better options to fund the expansion, possibly only charging new enrolling students who would actually be able to use it or maybe looking for outside funding. If we do not have funding available to build and run this new addition, then we simply should not do it. I do not think my student loans, which I’ll be paying off for quite a bit of my life, should pay for something I don’t want/need/approve of.

Hannah Halcomb

Student, employee, mother of two