While the addition of Southern Station will undoubtedly be a welcome one for the university, it will also be a costly one. There are several other projects on campus that the money could have gone toward.
The Southern Miss Alumni Association celebrated 100 years of service to Southern Miss in 2017. In commemoration of this occasion, the association invested in scholarships for children of Southern Miss alumni, but they felt something was missing. They identified a need for an outdoor stage and gathering space that could be used by the university for various events and the association invested in this project now known as Southern Station.
However, some of the money could have gone towards scholarships that all students would be eligible for based on both merit and academic performance.
As a first-generation college student, there are already unique challenges I have faced throughout my academic career. The cost of tuition was one of them. There are some scholarships that I was not eligible for because my parents did not attend college or complete a degree.
More scholarships that are accessible to everyone and also reward academic performance would be greatly appreciated by many students.
Another thing that the money for Southern Station possibly could have been used for instead is efforts to alleviate the less-than-ideal parking situation on campus. Many students feel that there is simply not enough parking available on campus or that available parking is too far away from their classes.
The money could go towards building parking garages or additional areas for students to park. The money could also help alleviate the high cost of parking passes, as they are not affordable for some students.
These are concerns that students have been voicing for years, but not much has changed.
An additional idea for what the money could have been used for is increased recycling and sustainability efforts on campus. There are already several good programs in place, but there is always more that can be done. An increase in education regarding sustainability and how it can affect our campus, city and the planet as a whole would be extremely beneficial for the Southern Miss campus.
In the end, Southern Station will be a positive addition to the campus. It will likely benefit many people including students, faculty, staff and alumni. There is nothing wrong with the Alumni Association investing the money in Southern Station, but it is also important to consider other uses for these funds and what they could be used for in future projects.