Fun upgraded: New Games Room

Ofelya Martirosyan

As of last month, the basement of the Fitness Centre is no longer empty. It is the new home of the Games Room on campus with its orange, blue and green walls, five new pool tables, console games (X-Box 360 and Wii), two tennis tables, eight coin-operated video games and a lounge area with a projector screen.’

The five new pool tables cost $9,000 and the console gaming $5,000, but there was no extra charge for the renovation of the basement because it was done by the in-house maintenance team, according to Commercial Services Manger Jeremy Hamlett.

All students pay student union fees. Those funds can only be spent on Student Union programs and projects and not on academic programs, said Debra Hammond, Executive director of University Student Union.

‘There’s definitely student involvement in the decision making process,’ said Hammond. The special project was voted on by the Facilities and Commercial Services Committee, which is comprised of students, and then it was approved by the Board of Directors, Hammond said.

We want to provide convenient services that students desire. Any program that deepens a student’s connection to the institution helps them graduate, said Hammond.

The old Games Room across from the Fitness Centre will be used to expand the computer lab where students can print up to 20 pages free of charge because the service is included in student fees.

‘The expansion of the computer lab is a long-term project we hope to complete in January 2010,’ said Hammond.

A $262,172 budget was created from the campus quality fees to pay for 58 new computers, new furniture, renovations and the moving company, said Jason Wang, associate executive director for USU.

‘We’re trying to keep up with other campuses around the nation,’ said Hamlett.

‘If you look across the nation almost all campuses have a games room or a game area. It’s a valued service, a way to socialize and make connections. It’s exactly what we wanted it to be, more energetic and vibrant.’

About 50 to 150 students use the Games Room during the day, he said. Midday is the busiest time and some evenings after closing, the Games Room gets rented out to different fraternities, clubs and organizations on campus.

‘The set-up and everything looks a lot cozier than it used to be. I was surprised. Even though it’s a basement, it looks more inviting,’ said Greg Jones, 20, biochemistry major.

‘The old game room was a little dull. This one’s more colorful and we have more games,’ said Commercial Services Attendant Yamrot Amha, 21, environmental and occupational health major, who has been working at the Games Room for more than a year.

Throughout the semester over 100 students participate in table tennis, billiards and Texas hold’em tournaments held once a week, said Hamlett. Participation is free and the only requirement is to be a CSUN student. The top players will get a chance to participate in the championship games in April. ‘We have a wall of fame and trophies for first, second and third places,’ said Hamlett.

When students play for three hours, they can become Player’s Club members and can play another hour for free. Students will need to get a player’s card from the attendant and punch it every 30 minutes, which the attendants collect for a weekly raffle.

Commercial services assistant Aaron Sherrill said occasionally the Games Room will hold Lakers and Dodgers nights and sometimes during the games, they serve pizza or apple pie.

‘I like the fact that the TV is actually working. The projector has a better set-up; more people can view the TV,’ said Christian Covarrubias, 21, business administration major, who mainly visits the Games Room on Lakers nights.

‘You don’t have to play the games to be there. You can go there and take a nap,’ said Solomon Ojo, 24, cellular biology major, who started using the Games Room this semester.’

‘The biggest benefit was to utilize the [vacant] room and to have an inviting and engaging area for the students. And I think we’ve created a spot that when students find it, they’re going to make their own,’ said Hamlett.