New campus venue for student orgs ticks all the boxes, proves to be valuable improvement
By Alexander Plate
The Space, the venue that was opened underneath Swetman Gym in August for student organizations to host their events, has proven to be a popular location on campus in its first semester.
Replacing a disused set of locker rooms for the gymnasium, The Space is meant to be an area where student organizations can host small or medium-sized events for their members. In the past, organizations have relied on existing spaces where athletic and academic reservations have precedence.
“We were really lacking in terms of space for student organizations to have their events before The Space opened,” said Mitch Fields, the vice president of facilities services at Oswego State.
According to Takeena Strachan, the Student Association president, The Space was designed with student organizations in mind, and was in a way built around what many students were hoping they would be able to find in downtown Oswego, but could not find; a calm, well-designed environment where small groups could meet.
“We wanted a space where students could hold high-end events, parties, but also less formal events and a space that could be multipurpose,” Strachan said.
When Young M.A., the rap artist who came to campus in October, was preparing for her show, she used the area as a green room and dressing room of sorts. The venue can be used to host speakers brought to campus by student organizations.
The Space has been popular for student organizations and has been booked almost every day consistently throughout the last part of the semester.
When the idea for opening a venue for students was first proposed, it was the student body itself that was asking for new and more quality places on campus for their events. In recent years, the American Legion was made unavailable as a space for student events, and the city of Oswego implemented a “social host” law that made hosting events at private residences in the city more difficult. As a result, students began asking for a space at public meetings with city and school officials, including at the downtown town hall meetingheld in 2018 with President Deborah Stanley and Oswego Mayor William Barlow.
Strachan said that the work between the student body and the administration in this case is admirable, and she looks forward to further development of that dialogue.