Office for Campus Services defends ‘commercialization’

In light of the recent opening of the Power Mac Center (PMC) and the announcement of the opening of Yoga+ and 7-Eleven branches at De La Salle University (DLSU), stakeholders have expressed their concerns on the mushrooming of retail stores inside the campus.

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On July 22, 2014, an email was sent by the Campus Services Office informing the Lasallian community of the opening of PMC. It said, “This initiative is aligned with the concerted effort to make the University’s services more responsive to the needs of today’s learners.” It continued, “The University endeavors to create a support system for the technological needs of our young students and innovators.”  The PMC opened on August 30.

Since then, the Campus Services Office has announced the opening of a Yoga+ studio in the Enrique Razon Sports Complex and a 7-Eleven branch in the Gokongwei Hall in October and November this year, respectively. Interestingly, the opening of the Power Mac Center has elicited comments from both Lasallians and non-Lasallians on the Internet. These ranged from inquisitive to critical and even comedic comments. Most emphasized the image of DLSU as an elitist institution.


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Student sentiments on the issue are also mixed. Celina Casas (I, CAM-MKT) believes that it is impractical for PMC to set up a branch inside the campus. “It’s not like we can just buy laptops and iPhones then [and there],” she remarks. Kimi Barra (IV, CAM-ADV) thinks that DLSU invited PMC for a different purpose. “I think the PMC is unnecessary and was only built so that DLSU can prove a point,” Barra shares, elaborating that the move only made DLSU look more elitist among the general public.

Samantha San Ramon (III, MKT) points out that opening a 7-Eleven branch in Gokongwei Hall is unnecessary. She defends this by saying that the vicinity is already crowded with different convenient stores and adding another one inside the campus is pointless. A Ministop branch and another 7-Eleven branch are currently located at the EGI Taft Tower and One Archer’s Place, respectively. FamilyMart, another chain of convenient stores, is set to open at One Archer’s Place. All said stores are only a few feet away from Gokongwei Hall.

Parent sentiments have been forgiving. Charity Angeles, DLSU Parents of University Students Organization (DLSU-PUSO) assistant secretary, mentions the convenience of having such stores inside the campus. She says that the proximity of the stores is helpful in reducing travel time. Angeles adds that parents need not worry of their children’s safety anymore.


University towns as benchmark

In an e-mail correspondence with Associate Vice President for Campus Services (AVPCS) Josemari Calleja, he defends that the different establishments that have opened and will open in campus are for the enrichment of a Lasallian’s stay at DLSU and for the convenience of the Lasallian community. Calleja highlights that the establishments in question aim to provide various services for the community residing within the vicinity of the campus, similar to university towns found abroad.

The head of the Campus Services office assures that each project under the AVPCS undergo extensive research that finds ways to address the different and changing needs of the community. Depending on the needs assessment, proposed projects undergo bidding, with various concessionaires invited to participate in the process. The President and Chancellor, with guidance from the AVPCS, Vice President for Administration, and Vice President for Finance, still has the final stay on the future course of the projects.

All of the establishments in campus addresses a specific need of University stakeholders. Quite a number of the University’s facilities run on Apple machines, creating a necessity to establish a partnership with the PMC. Students and faculty members alike patronize personal Apple devices. Although an agreement with other computer and technology suppliers are also in the works, the PMC is an initial venture that could help the community deal with its different technological needs.

In response to the claims that a 7-Eleven would contribute to the surplus of convenience stores in the area, Calleja states that “The University needs to protect the services it deems important for its members in case the other stores decide to close shop…The same logic is behind having food areas in campus in spite of the proliferation of restaurants in the area.” Yoga+, on the other hand, will provide an alternative health facility in response to the greater need for physical activity among stakeholders.

The rent and all other proceeds from the said establishments, and other future concessionaires, will go to the One La Salle Scholarship Fund.


Not the end of it

The AVPCS is looking for other projects that could be put into place in the near future. Aside from the three establishments mentioned, nothing has been finalized, but the office wants to gear its future projects towards health and wellness, technology, and support for academic needs.

AVPCS will collect feedback regarding the effectiveness of the establishments from stakeholders. The feedback that will be collected will be used in deciding for future programs and plans. Calleja and his team are working directly with the University Student Government and the Council of Student Organizations to have a better grasp of students’ needs.

Gabriel Hipolito

By Gabriel Hipolito

Bianca Suarez

By Bianca Suarez

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