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UISG party looks to expand study options

BY MICHELLE HILLENBRAND | APRIL 02, 2010 7:30 AM

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At other Big Ten universities, buildings with 24-hour access allow students to study late into the night.

But at the University of Iowa, no academic buildings are accessible to every UI student throughout the night — something UI Student Government presidential candidate John Rigby and vice-presidential candidates Erica Hayes said they hope to change.

“It’s the biggest concern we’ve heard from students,” Hayes said at an executive forum for the candidates Thursday night. Around 40 students attended the event; the majority of attendees were wearing “Golden Ticket” party T-shirts.

Because Rigby and Hayes are running unopposed, the debate was structured as a forum. The two took the opportunity to detail parts of their campaign platform and address students’ concerns.
While a number of past UISG campaigns have included the idea of 24-hour access, Rigby and Hayes said they’re confident their plan stands a better chance of achieving that goal.

Instead of extending hours at the Main Library, the pair plans to target the IMU, which increased its hours of operation this past fall.

“Based on the response that we’ve gotten from various Office of Student Life members and with the recently expanded hours, we feel that we can push those a little further to have it be 24 hours,” Rigby said.

The University of Wisconsin, University of Indiana, and University of Michigan have 24-hour buildings on campus.

In the spring of 2008, the Main Library implemented 24-hour accessibility during finals week, a successful part of former UISG President Maison Bleam’s campaign goals.

But many students said they would appreciate the opportunity year-round.

For freshman senatorial candidate Jeralyn Westercamp, a 24-hour IMU would be a useful study resource, she said.

“A lot of my freshman friends don’t hang out at the IMU,” she said. “If we can give it that 24-hour time period and revitalize it, it would be amazing for students.”

Rigby and Hayes also hope that offering free parking at the IMU once a week and including the River Room as a meal-plan option for students would increase foot traffic to the IMU and enhance its popularity as a study area.

Rigby, who occasionally studies late into the night, said he observed many students leaving around 2 a.m. — when the Main Library and IMU close. After talking with the students, he learned they wished they could stay and study later, he said.

“As a first-class public research institution, it’s pretty disappointing to not have a 24-hour building accessible to all students,” he said. “If [students] are still wanting to study and we are not providing them with a facility for that, we are letting them down.”

UI junior and Golden Ticket party member Alex Frescoln said he appreciates the feasibility of the party’s platform as a whole.

“Most people come out with huge goals that they can’t reach,” he said. “But we have goals that we can reach.”


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