Downing Student Union recreation room fees were restored this semester, causing mixed reactions from students.
David Emerson, the associate director for WKU Student Activities, said last year was the only year no fees were placed on recreation room use. The fees were restored to cover costs of lost or damaged equipment and to make up for a year of free use.
Emerson said staff disorganization and unpreparedness are other reasons there were no fees last year.
“It wasn’t ready, wasn’t trained (sic) and no one yet to supervise that space,” said Emerson. “Because you want to have some type of protocol before you start taking money, you just don’t want to haphazardly take money.”
There have been no complaints about the fees in the past, but Emerson said he fears students might respond negatively to the change.
Shepherdsville junior Brandon Merideth said that last semester, he and his roommate would use the recreation room about three to four times a week. This semester, Merideth said, he hasn’t used the recreation room at all.
“I was a little frustrated,” Merideth said. “A lot of [the recreation room’s] intention was to keep students here over the weekend and over holidays when the dorms were still open … We’ve already got a lot of bills on our plate and to add a charge onto something that your intentions were (sic) to keep us here is not a good marketing ploy.”
Although Merideth isn’t happy with the newly added fee, he understands its necessity. However, charging for a specific time limit isn’t the way to go, he said.
“Every time that I pass the rec room this semester, it’s as if it’s a ghost town and nobody is in there,” Merideth said. “Probably because we don’t want to pay an outrageous amount for two hours of play.”
Merideth said he misses the ability to play pingpong for free.
“It was almost to the point where me and my roommate have considered buying our own pingpong tables and having it (sic) in our room,” Merideth said.
The recreation room will charge $1 for a 30-minute period of video game system and table tennis use and $1.50 for a 30-minute period of pool table use. All other prices of activities are listed on the window outside the recreation room.
The money collected from the fees will go towards the purchase of new equipment such as new table tennis paddles, pool cues and felt for the pool tables. Throughout the school year, DSU will run daily specials and host special events that will waive certain fees. Students can also apply for coupons and a frequent user card to receive recreation room discounts.
Lance Dozier, DSU Recreation Room supervisor, said only a portion of student tuition fees goes towards the recreation room, and no profit was made last year because of the fee waiver. Compared to other colleges’ pricey recreation room fees Dozier has experienced, he said he thinks the DSU’s fees are reasonable.
“We don’t get 100 percent of it, so we lose money every year we don’t charge,” said Dozier. “So this year we’re trying to break even, or maybe make a little bit of a profit so we can continue to get nice things.”