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Media Memo: Student support for UW-Eau Claire Davies Center project

TO: News and Assignment Editors

FROM: Julie Poquette

DATE: July 6, 2007

SUBJECT: Student support for UW-Eau Claire Davies Center project

University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire current and former student leaders sent the following letter June 27 to all members of the Wisconsin State Legislature. The letter followed the Senate's June 26 approval of a 2007-09 state budget bill that included authorization for the design and construction of a new or remodeled student union at UW-Eau Claire; it was sent before the Assembly was expected to begin budget discussions.

For more information contact Ray French, UW-Eau Claire student body president, at 715-497-3790 or stusen50@uwec.edu, and Andrew Soll, vice chancellor for business and student services, at 715-836-5182 or sollak@uwec.edu.

June 27, 2007

TO: Honorable Members of the Wisconsin State Assembly and the Wisconsin State Senate

FROM: University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Student Leaders, Current and Alumni

Members of the Wisconsin State Assembly and Wisconsin State Senate,

As University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire students and alumni who have been directly involved in the student-led initiative to redevelop the W.R. Davies University Center, we respectfully ask for your support for the UW-Eau Claire Davies Center Addition and Remodeling or Replacement. The student led movement for furthering the availability and efficiency of the Davies Center is now entering its eighth year. At our current impasse, we need your support to bring the students vision to reality.

In the discussion of rising student fees around the nation, we would like you to consider a few points regarding the necessity for this project. First, the Davies Center is deficient in numerous areas and is becoming an unsafe building for students. The 2003 Davies Center Evaluation Report identified several of these areas including but not limited to handicapped accessibility, fire safety, significant wall and floor cracking, water leakage, major systems in need of replacement or major repair, and a roof at the end of its expected useful life. All of these conditions need immediate improvement, and will be considerably more expensive in the future.

The second point of concern is the significant lack of space available for students. Overall, the Davies Center lacks sufficient student organization meeting places, dining areas, and performance spaces for a student population of 10,500. There currently are more than 200 student organizations on campus, but only 14 meeting rooms in the Davies Center and only 50 cubicles available for student organization use. Without appropriate space available to students, there is no opportunity for student involvement to grow, which drastically decreases the quality of student experience at UW-Eau Claire.

The last major indicator of the need for the Davies Center development can be seen in the significant student support surrounding it. The 2000 referendum, which initially began generating money for the project, was approved by 76 percent of the student voter turnout. Once it was determined in 2003 that the generated money would no longer suit the student and building needs, students once again showed their support. In April 2005, a survey of students demonstrated that 75 percent were in favor of a Davies Center building project. A December 2005 survey indicated 64 percent supported the segregated fee increases necessary to finance Davies Center redevelopment. In addition to surveys, all student governance groups approved the proposal with overwhelming support. It is clear that students are in favor of the fee increase and that they want the proposed project to continue.

We are currently standing at the crossroads for this project. Students have been looking towards a brighter future for the student body and campus community, as evidenced by the length and strength of this movement. By recognizing todays problems and with foresight to meet the needs of the future, we invite you to share in our vision and support the Davies Center redevelopment plan. We appreciate the difficulty of this decision, but we ask you not to dismiss the years of work by students that have gone into this plan and the support it has continually garnered. Thank you for your time and we hope you consider supporting the students of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and the Davies Center proposal.

Respectfully,

Ray French
Student Body President
Davies Exploratory Committee Member
2007-2008

Christopher Wagner
Former Student Body President
2006-2007

Aaron Olson
Former Student Body President
2005-2006

Chad Wade
Former Student Body President
2004-2005

Sarah Schuh
Former Student Body President
Davies Expansion Committee Member
2002-2003

Andrew Oettinger
Former Student Body President
Davies Expansion Committee Member
2001-2002

Erin Brandt
Former Student Body Vice President
2000-2001

 

Meghan Charlier
Student Body Vice President
Davies Exploratory Committee Member
2007-2008

Chris Nielson
Former Student Body Vice President
Davies Exploratory Committee Chair
2006-2007

De Anna Breault
Former Student Body Vice President
Davies Exploratory Committee Chair
2005

Katherine Demerse
Former Student Body Vice President
Davies Exploratory Committee Chair
2003-2004

Matthew Flaten
Former Student Body Vice President
2002-2003

Justin Hentges
Former Student Body President
2000-2001

Eric Kasper
Former Student Body President
1999-2000

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