The Student Association began funding a pilot program for this semester that would keep Milne Library open for an extra two hours each night Sunday through Thursday.
The initiative came after two years of advocacy in Student Senate for an extended-hour study space on campus.
“I’m really excited for this pilot,” Student Association Vice President junior Adam Hansen said. “This is the first time I really feel like the administration has really taken a look at student wants and concerns and taken it very seriously. It’s been really great working with them in developing this plan.”
The SA executive committee passed the plan to funnel $6,348 into the pilot project after two special sessions over the winter break. The money will specifically fund two hours of extra work for one regular staff member at $11.10 an hour, one supervising student staff member at $14.00 an hour and one regular student staff member to work at the CIT Help Desk for $11.70 an hour, according to an SA agenda from December 2018. Throughout the semester, SA will continually monitor the usage of the study space, as well as how many students utilize it on average. The pilot would be considered successful if an average of 119 students—15 percent of all seats in the library—stay in the library after 1 a.m., according to the agenda.
“We want to make sure that we actually have the numbers and usage information to put this in effect,” Hansen said. “So we’re having this controlled pilot to see whether we have the data to support the plan, before the college makes that leap to fund all these people and to fund all of the extended hours. [SA’s] current plan is that if we do see a need for this, we will try to implement it into the library’s budget.”
After months of talking about an extended-hours space somewhere on campus, SA formally surveyed the student body for interest.
“It’s been something that’s been talked about a lot on campus over the past few years,” Hansen said. “Students are in almost universal agreement that we’d like to have a more accessible, longer hour study space, especially with printers being removed from the residence halls. In September, we sent out a survey through the class list-servs that got over 1,500 responses back. Out of all that, around 96 percent of the students that responded were in favor of a 24-hour study space … so that really launched us into this conversation.”
In that same survey, around 54 percent of respondents said they would utilize a 24-hour space at least once a week. Also, on a scale based out of ten, 82.9 percent said that a 24-hour space would have an impact of an eight, nine or ten on their academic life.
“Personally, I think it’s great that students finally have a late-night space to study, especially since security has been so strict with kicking students out of academic buildings,” international relations and Spanish double major senior Teresa Cappiello said.
Business administration sophomore Marc Gull underscored the value of the pilot program.
“I like that the administration is willing to work with the students and compromise with them on something students feel strongly about,” Gull said. “I do think that there is some sort of fairness from this being paid for directly with student funds, but at the same time I think it sets a bad precedent for the college paying for bigger projects that they should cover with funds that otherwise go to student activities.”
News editor Kara Burke contributed reporting to this article.