Student Senate Cinema motion creates concern
May 2, 2014
During the Tuesday, April 29, Student Senate meeting, Senate passed a motion that would allocate $8,000 for Student Senate Cinema that would begin in the fall.
The Student Senate Cinema would be Friday and Saturday nights and would show pre-DVD films that are out of the theater during the fall semester. According to the Student Senate Cinema motion file located on the Senate OrgSync page, the $8,000 would come from the Special Projects fund of Senate. While we support more involvement on campus, we feel that the decision Senate made to pass the motion is irresponsible particularly during this time when the campus is going through a $1.7 million budget cut.
The swim team was suspended due to the budget cut and departments across campus were forced to re-look at their programs to find areas that would be able to be cut. Instead of spending $8,000 on a Student Senate Cinema, the money could be put towards something that is more necessary for academic use.
Another one of our major concerns was how this decision could impact local businesses. The concern primarily for us is the Falls Theater. The theater is an important aspect of River Falls both in town and for the UW-River Falls campus. Not only is it a low-cost activity for students, the theater also works with campus in several ways. The theater provides us with movie tickets each week for our feather search in the Student Voice; the theater also has worked together with residence halls such as Hathorn Hall to provide a free movie showing for those living in the hall. For example, Wednesday, April 30, the residents of Hathorn Hall were able to attend a free showing of “Rio 2.” The possibility of taking away business from the Falls Theater is not something we support.
One of the goals of this Student Senate Cinema is to help with retention rates. Getting more students to stay on campus for the weekends could create more positive experiences at UW-River Falls. However, if students go to the Friday night showing, they could leave Saturday morning still to go home. Weekend events on campus such as Open Mic Night have difficulties drawing students in to participate, some nights more successful than others. The challenge for Senate would also be how to attract students to the movie showings and to keep students on campus for the weekend.
While we give kudos to Senate for making an effort to increase retention rates and increase involvement on campus, we feel that this new program causes more concerns than it does support.