Written by Sonoma State Star Staff Writer, Shannon Brown
On Nov. 13, 2013 Sonoma State University opened the Student Center after almost eight years of planning and construction. The Student Center’s first anniversary was last Thursday and the school planned many small events and incentives, like free food and beverages, in order to show their appreciation for the benefits the Student Center has on faculty and students on campus.
Although the celebration of the Student Center seemed small to some students, the small tokens of appreciation like free coffee and muffins and a history of the Student Center located on the first floor were presented. Freshman, who weren’t able to experience life before the Student Center, found the history lesson as a surprise.
“I didn’t realize how much planning it took to create the Student Center. I was surprised to know that they started planning for a student union in 2005 and didn’t start construction till 2011,” said freshman Madison Muro.
The building, designed by architects Hornberger & Worstell Inc., implemented many green and eco-friendly initiatives. The Student Center uses natural and energy-efficient lights as well as recycled materials. Sonoma State also aims to save water by using reclaimed water in the restrooms. As a fully functioning building, which includes dining, retail, and meeting spaces, the Student Center is constantly being used by students.
“Part of the reason why I chose this school was the fact that the Student Center was so nice. I think it continues to impact every student that tours this school. It’s an awesome place that future students [will] love.”
A $150 per semester student fee was added onto each students campus-based fees in order to pay for the $62 million project. As students reflect on what the Student Center has meant to them over the past year in service, many have come to realize just how valuable the Student Center is to campus life at Sonoma State.
With a small crowd huddled around the posters explaining the Student Center’s history, upperclassmen were thinking back to the time when they had the cafeteria saying things such as, “This was such a perfect place to host sorority recruitment. Without this building it wouldn’t have been the same.”
The Student Center is constantly hosting events. With the biggest ballroom in Sonoma County, it’s essential for most campus events because it can hold many students. From Associated Students to Join Us Making Progress (JUMP), the Student Center hosts numerous student activities. The HUB is also located in the Student Center, which serves as a resource for promoting inclusiveness and diversity at Sonoma State. At the HUB, many intellectual discussions take place and students get the chance to voice their opinions and plan upcoming projects. The Kitchens, which include six restaurants within one common dining area, is a large part of the freshman lifestyle. Not only do freshman visit it regularly because of their meal plan, but the reviews of the food are positive as well.
The anniversary of the Student Center allowed many students to reflect back on just how much the Student Center has influenced their education and their day-to-day well-being at Sonoma State.
During planning, the project was almost shut down due to budget cuts in 2010, but the student fee that was passed in April 2011 and in November 2011 by the California State University Board of Trustees, which made the Student Center a reality.
Nov. 13 will continue to be an important anniversary for Sonoma State because of the impact the Student Center has had on campus life. As the host of many more events to come, the Student Center continues to be an important and proud focal point at Sonoma State.
For more information on the Student Center’s history and funding, students are encouraged to visit sonoma.edu/studentcenter or their Facebook page.