So we have a new and pretty cool game room in Student Union Building II (which is now referred to as “The Hub,” even though the building signs haven’t changed.)
Either way, the first week or two that the new Corner Pocket was open, there was free game-play for the things they traditionally charge for. This was great, yet it didn’t last long.
I find it hard to believe that with subpar equipment the university has the audacity to charge its students $3 an hour to play ping pong and $5 an hour for pool.
Even though the fee isn’t much, it’s the principle. I would be fully supportive of a fee to play as long as the equipment is new and not held together by scotch tape, as is with the ping pong equipment. Yes, hard to believe, but most of the paddles are missing a piece of the handle or are covered in tape.
You would never buy a new car only to replace the parts with those from a used car. It makes no sense. So until they upgrade the ping pong equipment, it should be free play. Hell, it should always be free play. I pay enough in tuition as it is.
Those of us paying out-of-state tuition are shelling out an outstanding $25,248 per year; Mason can’t let us use the game room for free?
I do understand that it costs money to build a new room, maintain the facilities, maintain the equipment (even though they don’t seem to maintain some of it) and pay the employees. Now that they’re charging, I’m sure there will be considerably fewer people using the Corner Pocket’s facilities than if it was free. Do they really make that much money off of charging students to use the Corner Pocket that it makes a difference in subsidizing their expenses?
I contacted Ben Crandall, executive director of Student Centers, for comment regarding the gross income the university makes off of charging students for game room use. I did not receive a response by the time this article was written.
My guess is that in the long run it doesn’t make much of a difference. The game room being free would be a great benefit to the student body, and I believe it would increase student engagement. It would be worth it for them to eat a bit of the cost.
I would think Mason would want to encourage students to have a safe and fun environment to hang out in, especially considering the university’s strict alcohol consumption policies, at least in comparison to other universities I have friends at or have visited. Many students would agree. The Corner Pocket charging totally discourages that.
There are great events that Program Board, Weekends and the rest of Student Involvement holds for students to “hang out” at, but the game room is the one place that could become a regular and safe hangout for students … if it were free.
Well, that’s it for the Weekly Rant till next year, Mason. There will be plenty more to come. Send me your ideas over the summer!

Shane T. Smith
contributed to this article