Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


We’re All Mall Rats

You pull in to the massive parking lot, and, as usual, all of the good spots are filled with big white sedans that are favored by the geriatric set. So you pull into the parking garage instead At least your car won’t sit in the sun. As you walk into the cool air conditioning, you remind yourself, “I only have twenty dollars. No matter how much it burns in my pocket, I will not spend it. I am here to buy one thing and one thing only.”

But then, as you walk past kiosks filled with jewelry and cell phone accessories, and stores full of nice things for you to buy, you melt. After all, you do have your credit cards. It’s so hard to resist spending your money when you’re surrounded by such crass commercialism. I guess the old saying is true; you get what you pay for. Welcome to Florida Atlantic University.

FAU has finally gone Boca. From shopping malls on FAU land to a herd of kiosks in the University Center, now students have nowhere to turn without being urged to spend, spend, spend.

First off, let’s discuss the so-called “University Commons.” These stores are not only on FAU land, but bear the FAU seal. The theory is that students living on campus will come to rely on these stores for day-to-day needs. The truth is that the stores will come to rely on students with poor impulse control.

Why do we need a store like Organized Living, which sells mostly office furniture, when the students who live on campus have hardly enough room for the furnishings FAU provides?

At Whole Foods Market, a hand basket full of food costs as much as a full cart at Publix. These stores do not cater to students, who typically have tight budgets. Even students who are vegetarians can find what they need at regular grocery stores.

It seems to me that the only reason the University Commons is located on FAU land is to benefit from the steady supply of students who will work for minimum wage.

The justification for all of this is to provide money to FAU, thus helping students. In reality, if the stores rely on students’ poor spending habits, then it is just another way to empty students’ pockets.

Another problem is the recently refurbished University Center, which is quickly turning into a shopping mall. There are now kiosks that feature such all-important products as cell phone faceplates and a multitude of oil burners and incense to choose from.

I can’t imagine that such kiosks make much money, since the UC is hardly the hub of the Boca campus. More importantly, students don’t look to find such items for sale on campus. If I were looking for a cell phone faceplate I would go to the mall, and if I were looking for incense I would go to a head shop.

The worst addition by far is the new hair salon in the UC. I hardly think that students will line up to get their hair and nails done in between classes. Did the people who run the University Center actually ask students what they wanted? .

At the new salon, a haircut without a blow dry costs 23 dollars with a student ID. I would imagine students who needed a haircut without a blow dry would rather go to Supercuts and pay $10. Those who actually want a pricier cut would probably prefer one of the many upscale salons scattered across Boca, than to get their trim before the eyes of their fellow students.

These “improvements” to FAU seem superficial and unnecessary. It was bad enough when the “new and improved” bookstore had three times more space for items featuring the FAU logo and novelty items such as plastic jewelry, sunglasses and stuffed animals, while students are still often told that the book they need isn’t in.

It seems, however, that this was not to be the exception but the rule for the “improved” areas on campus. The university is using valuable space on an ever-expanding campus to make money instead of actually improving anything. The student body is already working hard to deal with hikes in tuition. We don’t need to be squeezed for more cash by an increasingly commercialized university.

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