Turnout impressive for Rec Center protest

Mar 24th, 2010 | By | Category: Blogs, Opinions

by Zach Becker

After participating in today’s protest against the construction of the University Recreation Center, I must say I came away very impressed by the level of student interest in the issue.

We had probably 25-35 students show up during the course of the hour-long demonstration. I have yet to hear the final count on the signatures we got on a petition for a re-vote, but I know several pages of signatures were filled. The News-Leader showed up to cover the event, as did The Standard, so that should also increase awareness.

Many of the attendees were members of the swim team. They are not very happy with the fact that this new pool (and lazy river) is being built (which is not Olympic sized and they cannot use), yet their own pool is in pretty bad shape.

Like the rest of the protestors, they also believe this project is a waste of valuable resources during a time when we are about to see budget cuts.

We even had a group of five or six anti-protestors along for the ride (and their couch).

This was my first protest, and it was a lot of fun. It was really nice to see students have such strong feelings and voice them, especially over a campus issue. Too often, students just seem apathetic.

I got a chance to talk to Justin Wieberg, a student working in Campus Recreation who was part of the opposition to the protest. We had a friendly debate over the issue. Of course, he informed me this is really a non-issue, since their is no way at this point they will not build the thing. I guess he thinks we are wasting our time protesting it. In reality, the facility is set to break ground next month, so it probably is a long shot to put the breaks on it. But it’s not over til it’s over.

Of course, for it being a mute issue, I find it interesting he would spend his afternoon handing out pro-rec center fliers to students to combat our anti-rec center protest. If opposition is doomed to fail, why bother?

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