Welcome back to school comets! AMP wants to give a big hello and welcome to all our Freshmen or first-year students. Props to you for engaging with UTD-related content so early on by picking up UTD’s #1 opinion and satire magazine. We hope you’ll keep reading <3. And welcome back to our Sophomores, Juniors, Seniors, and Grad students! We missed you guys! We’re hoping this year will be memorable for many reasons, one being the possible massive improvements being made to our very campus. The UT Dallas administration is currently in the process of organizing a fee referendum for a new and improved Student Union! A fee referendum is basically a vote for a temporary fee placed on students’ tuition for a specific purpose. Now before you immediately resort to voting “no” to avoid paying higher tuition, allow us to give you all the facts. The fee will be an additional blank charge on top of tuition. The new Student Union would replace the Green Center (you know, the t-shirt building by the library?) and it would be much bigger than our current Student Union, with way more amenities. There would be more floors, more food options, more comfy study spots, more pool and tennis tables, and even galleries to feature student art. In addition, there would be added rooms for student organizations to meet (I know we’re all tired of fighting for the ones in the SSA) and dance studios for UTD’s various dance teams to practice in (y’all will no longer have to practice on the bottom floor of Founders!). One of the coolest parts of this vision is the outdoor amphitheater that would be built near the creek behind campus. Now the theater isn’t a 100% guarantee, but it’s all part of the proposed outcome of the new Student Union project.
The fact is the student union fee has not been increased in the past 20 years, and that’s reflected in the current student union. The SU is overcrowded and dated, and although we can appreciate its charming, late 20th century architecture, it’s not ideal to have to walk around for 15 minutes just to find somewhere to sit. In the past 20 years, student enrollment has increased by 135%, so it’s easy to see why the Student Union is so overcrowded! The referendum would increase the current fee from $60 to $100, and it would be voted on by the student body this semester. If the majority votes in favor of the new SU, the fees would be applied in the fall of 2023. Ultimately, the choice is up to the student body, so make sure to vote to have your say!