The Student News Site of Roger Williams University

The Hawks' Herald

The Student News Site of Roger Williams University

The Hawks' Herald

The Student News Site of Roger Williams University

The Hawks' Herald

Concrete Contention: RWU’s Newest Addition

The schematic of the skatepark area. Courtesy of Colin Martz.
The schematic of the skatepark area. Courtesy of Colin Martz.

In recent news of student enrichment, the Office of Student Life has announced the potential installation of a skatepark. Located on the north side of campus, the skatepark is in its final stages of approval before determining an official build date. 

During this process a skatepark committee was formed and we had the pleasure of talking with one of the skatepark committee designers and a fellow skater boi. Colin Martz, an RWU student and the Skatepark Committee Designer, had this to say about the project: “The idea with the design is to make it beginner friendly but also open to all levels of skating. I put lots of easy flowy features kinda sprinkled in and some harder stuff for some higher level skaters and I’m excited to ride it and it’s going to be super chill.”

Although niche, the park seems to have been given a lot of thought in how to involve anyone who chooses to use it. Our campus has a significant population of skaters that perhaps may grow now that there is a featured place of assembly. 

Olver Stokke, another RWU student and skater, said, “I’m really excited to use it, honestly I’ll even come back after I graduate to use it probably. It’s going to be a great opportunity for everyone to get to know each other and it will form a good community on campus. I’m super excited.”

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Across from the home of the new skatepark is the Arts Annex center. When we asked the art students their feelings on the matter they were not as excited for the new arrival. 

Freshman Alec Corrado said,  “In terms of on-campus enrichment, we are severely lacking, but a skate is the absolute wrong way to do that. It caters to an extremely specific group of people while allocating funds that could be better spent in another manner.” 

The collective agreement seemed to be that perhaps a skatepark wasn’t the best choice for the student body as a whole. Noise complaints, deterring potential interested art students from inquiring within the space, a waste of greenery and fear of loss of parking. Along with those concerns they also had comments on where they think these funds would better benefit the university. 

“University funds could be distributed in places needed more such as dining sources or housing renovations,” said junior Ry Goodell. 

Senior Oliver Sherry added, “Instead of a skatepark, we should put more money into mental health resources where students can be seen by counselors not every two weeks but every week.”

“The entire student body should be able to vote on what this space– or at the very least, these funds– should be used for,” added senior Nicole Kowalewski. 

Freshman Hannah Driscoll-Carignan said, “I think it’s odd that the school is putting their financial resources into this project, especially because there hasn’t been a survey or anything along those lines, so I don’t really understand the need, like there is in, for example, fixing the roof of the Barn or the roof of Commons.”

In terms of projecting the full story, the most recent outreach article regarding the Skatepark project states, “We are in the fundraising phase and we need RWU community interest and engagement; fundraising will be our primary focus the next few weeks.” This leads us to believe that at least a portion of the money for this project is not coming from the school’s budget. 

When asked to respond to these concerns regarding the build of the Skatepark and the related noise complaints, Martz had no knowledge of the issues.

We are in favor of student enrichment and we are also in favor of democracy. With such polarizing reviews, did things get lost in translation? Perhaps a home for our four wheeled friends is just what this campus needs, or perhaps it’s not. Whether you are a skater boi or for the performing arts, you deserve to find enrichment on this campus one way or another. What do you think?

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