Recently, Student Government, at the urging of government senior Alexander Dickey, began deliberating a proposal to make the Flawn Academic Center, currently open 18 hours a day Monday through Thursday for most of the semester, a 24-hour building. This is not without precedent, as the building — previously known as the Undergraduate Library — once indeed opened its doors 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Back in February, we even ran a letter from Dickey lamenting the apparent decline in student services resulting from the elimination of an all-hours student center. Today, sadly, no building on campus is open to all students throughout the day and night.
Although the Perry-Castañeda Library is open 24 hours on weekdays in the middle of the semester and 24/7 closer to final examinations, a perpetual place for nocturnal and otherwise up-at-4 a.m. students to congregate is absolutely vital. We commend Student Government for bringing renewed attention to this important matter.
A section of the library at the University of Houston already opens its doors around the clock, while Texas A&M at least does so throughout the academic week. Just in the past few days, Louisiana State University announced plans to make its library 24 hours.
But the beauty of a 24-hour FAC study space is that the facility can easily accommodate the transition, easing resource requirements for the more expansive PCL. Students merely need a quiet space for preparation, or even just a computer. For the students who lack ownership of our electronic staple, or perhaps have checked it into a repair shop, university facilities can often be the only way to engage with the online world. For all of us who have checked our emails or text messages in the middle of the night, we should be able to empathize.
Keeping a building open for six more hours while the vast majority of us are sleeping or engaged in other nocturnal activities likely will not mean much at all to most. But it will mean the world to those who truly need the expanded service. For the sake of the 3 a.m. studier or for the student who just wants to chat with friends a few minutes after midnight, extending the hours at the FAC would change our University for the better.