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The Collegian

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Fresno State's student-run newspaper

The Collegian

Fresno State's student-run newspaper

The Collegian

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Fresno State students prepare for a semester in the trenches

Fresno+State+students+prepare+for+a+semester+in+the+trenches
Graphic by Wyatt Bible/The Collegian

The Fall 2023 semester is in full swing, but it’s a bit more chaotic than students are used to.

The new dining options in the Resnick Student Union have been delayed again, and are slated to open throughout the fall semester.

“S—-’s annoying. I really just want a bomb ass Habit burger already. But I’m used to this school saying that things are going to be open and they’re not,” said Nathan Rawers, a third year student at Fresno State.

From the ever changing construction deadlines to the disastrous parking situation, students should be prepared to adjust to the new reality that is Fresno State.

Here are a few things students should be aware of:

RSU dining options

Three new dining options were originally supposed to open in Spring 2023.

Due to construction, according to Debbie Adishian-Astone, vice president for administration and chief financial officer, the openings were pushed to the start of Fall 2023.

Taco Bell, The Habit Burger Grill and a Toss-N-Chop soup and salad bar are now scheduled to have staggered openings throughout the fall semester, according to a press release by Fresno State News.

Lisa Bell, a public information officer for University Communications, explained that the delays can be attributed to construction and unpredictable events.

“I checked with Debbie Adishian-Astone. She said it is typical construction-related activities: unforeseen utilities, additional time for installation of some mechanical equipment, etc.,” Bell said in an email.

While the delays may be valid, students are frustrated in regards to why what they were promised isn’t available yet.

“It’s frustrating simply because they have dates they say they’re going to be done and then don’t finish by that time. It’s like having an assignment due at 11:59 p.m. and turning it in the next day. You’re not going to get full credit,” said a Fresno State student.

Other students are upset because of the inconvenience it causes. Fresno State has limited dining options which cause long lines at the more popular restaurants.

“I personally feel frustrated with the RSU food places not being open. Especially when you’re in a time crunch and are hungry. I had to wait in line for lunch at Panda because the RSU foods aren’t open yet. I was really looking forward to The Habit,” said Jonathan Stoermer, a junior at Fresno State.

Parking and construction

The Central Utility Plant Replacement Project (CUPR) has been ongoing since fall 2022.

CUPR is a project that will help improve and maintain Fresno State’s central heating and cooling systems along with making the campus’ energy more efficient.

The project has obstructed the campus since then and has caused numerous unforeseen consequences for everyone at Fresno State, especially within the parking lots.

With already limited parking, the campus has had to close off parking lots as a result of the construction.

According to an email sent on Aug. 18 to the campus community from Tinnah Medina, associate vice president for Facilities Management, informed students that CUPR made lots of progress during the summer.

Lots of safety fences were taken down, revealing parts of campus that had been closed, but new ones have been installed in other areas to begin the next phase of CUPR.

“…there are several parking impacts that we wanted to advise you of prior to the start of the semester,” Medina said in her email.

San Ramon Avenue is closed for vehicle access, as well as parking near Engineering West and Social Science buildings. The area will be impacted for the next few weeks until further notice.

Solar Photovoltaic installations are being made in P5 and P6 and they will be completed by December 2023, according to Medina.

“For the fall semester, parking will be available in most of P5. Areas of P6 will be re-opened throughout the semester as the work progresses,” Medina said.

Traffic jams are expected in all parking lots regardless of the construction status. Students have been advised to plan accordingly to ensure they make it to class on time.

Along with disorderly parking, there are also a lot of pedestrian traffic areas on campus that are closed.

There are numerous detours, increasing the amount of time it takes to get from one building to the next. Students should look at the campus map, to find the most efficient route to their classes.

Faculty members are also being impacted due to the construction.

Kathleen McKinley, a professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance, said she spent over an hour trying to find parking on the first Tuesday of the semester, Aug. 22.

When she finally parked and arrived at her office in the Speech Arts Building, she said she had no idea how to get to her classroom in the Lab School Building because her usual sidewalk route was blocked off and there was no sign to direct pedestrian access.

“I do not have a smart classroom, so I was lugging my laptop and syllabi for 50 students! Why wasn’t traffic directed at the two congested 4-way stops? Where were the pedestrian detour signs? In desperation, I finally climbed over a safety net to reach my classroom. Please note, I regret this action and do not recommend students do the same,” McKinley said.

The final completion date is still inconclusive, but according to Medina, CUPR is scheduled to be finished by the spring semester of 2024.

Covid-19 updates

With the new “Eris” variant of COVID-19 arising, students should still be taking precautions and following all mandates by the university.

“If you do not feel well, please stay home and use a home test kit before returning to campus. Although they are not required on campus, wearing a facemask, especially in crowded environments, can help slow the spread of COVID,” Bell said.

The university continues to offer free home test kits in the Student Health and Counseling Center as well as COVID-19 testing.

In order to keep students safe, the university will continue to follow local and state guidelines. Additionally, Fresno State will seek guidance from the Fresno County Department of Public Health if a COVID-19 outbreak were to occur, according to Bell.

As flu season is upcoming, students and employees should know that the health center will offer free flu shots.

According to Bell, the latest campus updates regarding COVID-19 can be found on the Fresno State website.

“If we are able to partner with UCSF as we have in the past, we will offer the next booster vaccine at no cost,” Bell said.

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