Loud Voices for the Library

Photo+by+Madeline+Moran.+Students+studying+in+the+Jones+Student+Union.

Photo by Madeline Moran. Students studying in the Jones Student Union.

Kate Rogers, Reporter

 

Although the JSU is fairly full of people during the day, it’s usually used primarily by mandatory classes being held there.

The JSU is open from 7:00 am to 3:30 pm. The school day is in session from 7:25 to 2:14. It opens 25 minutes before school starts and closes 75 minutes after. For a school of almost four thousand students, all from different backgrounds, that’s not a lot of time. One hundred minutes for students to access WiFi, computers, and quiet before going home.

I collected data from students across campus and 65% of those surveyed agreed that the JSU needs to be open longer. Chandler High student Robert Williams said, “I feel it should be longer than 3:30 for after school. I run a podcast, and that used to be our recording space but there’s just too little time so we switched spaces.”

Students need to have the spaces for both educational and creative growth. We are all teenagers, and we spend a good chunk of our lives at school, and not all of us can go home and have the same environment. Sophomore Makena Colihan said, “The JSU really helps me a lot in school, and everyone there is always kind and respectful. I do think that it should be open longer because I don’t have a computer at home and rely on the JSU for projects, and it can get annoying when I can’t get everything done.”

One hundred minutes for six or more classes of homework is not enough!

The school cannot expect every student to have the ability to work at home. If the JSU wants to serve as a resource for students, it needs to be open when students need it.

Besides their hours, some students also said that the JSU’s homework-only policy is not realistic for a school library. “I think it should change the rule of ONLY working on homework to be able to stay there. Sometimes kids need a safe place to wait for their parents and don’t have anything to work on,” said Kathryn Veloz, a sophomore who frequently uses the JSU after school.

School should be a place that kids can be comfortable. Kids that have siblings or chaotic households aren’t always able to get home by 3:30, and if the JSU isn’t open, they have nowhere to go.

Considering how much time we spend on campus, it’s absurd that we aren’t allowed to be there longer.

Not to mention the fact that many of the students I interviewed didn’t even know what the JSU is. Of the people I interviewed who weren’t typical JSU users, 31% said they didn’t use it because they didn’t know what or where it was.

Alana Toigo, a sophomore student who is very engaged with our school as a lead anchor for Wolf News and a member of many other programs around campus, said, “Actually, it seems like I don’t know much about what the JSU offers, so maybe there could be more promotion sharing what it provides. More advertisement and all.”

If Alana, an involved member of the student body, doesn’t know what the JSU is for, then how can we as a school know that the JSU is reaching out to all of the students on campus, not just the ones that already know what’s happening in there?

To get input from those that work in the library, I interviewed Mr. Mosqueda, the Media Center Specialist. I asked him if the JSU’s hours would ever be subject to change, and he said, “Yes! We are here for the students, so if there is enough demand, we can adjust our hours as needed. Sometimes we’ve stayed open until 4:00 because we had students working on important projects.”

The JSU can be flexible if we need it to be, which means positive change can occur. I asked Mr. Mosqueda if, as a teacher in the JSU, there was anything that he thinks could be improved. He said, “I always think there is room for improvement! I would love to see more students use the JSU space for clubs and collaboration. In fact, I’m also talking with the City of Chandler about hosting lunchtime events and programming in our space. Ideally, I would also love to have a 3D printer and a makerspace lab in the JSU. I have a lot of ideas to help improve the JSU, but more importantly, I’d love to hear from the students. This is the Jones STUDENT Union, and I want this place to be student-centered. I’m always happy to get feedback and ideas from the students.

Not just the students want reform in the JSU. Having the backing of a teacher who works there can help get change jump-started and get the JSU to where it needs to be. Making improvements and additions to the JSU will help spread the word about the JSU around campus and get more students in there.

As the student body here at Chandler, we should use our voice to get the things we need from our school. The JSU needs to be a place that every student at Chandler knows they can use for academic support when they need it, and it’s our duty as students here to make the changes that it needs.