Bar could be just what Union needs

The discussion has begun for an overhaul of the Student Union, and if the initial ideas from the Student Union Planning Team are any indication, the long-suffering building could soon be headed in the right direction.

Among the recommendations (including computer labs, a hair salon, a post office and increased food options) in the team's vision statement and the one which will cause the most controversy is the proposal for an alcohol-serving pub in the building.

Alcohol is a touchy subject, and undoubtedly the prospect of alcohol readily available on campus will anger some. But hopefully the team will stick with the proposal and make it a reality.

The Union is the geographic center of campus, but not a social center. It lacks a sense of community, since students do most socializing off-campus. A pub would be a remedy for that a convenient, on-campus location to socialize with friends in a relaxed atmosphere.

After the initial costs, a bar would also be a potential cure for the Union's perennial budget woes. Opening a bar would virtually be a license to print money. The Union is not a high budget priority; a bar would be a step toward fiscal self-reliance.

The safety aspect of an on-campus bar is debatable, but one thing is for certain: mildly intoxicated students would be within walking, rather than driving, distance of their residences. A Union pub is far more inviting than the image of half-sloshed students thinking they are sober enough to drive home.

The discussions will be long, and likely the idea won't be an easy sell both to the university and the Arizona Board of Regents. But for this idea, the fight may well be worth it.

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