Winter is coming, and with it: change. Serious talk regarding a new location for the Veterans’ Resource Center has occurred on campus since 2016; as the end of 2018 approaches, that talk is on the cusp of physical reality.
A rendering of the new VRC is available for viewing in the current VRC, and one thing is hard to ignore: the pond- as many students know it- is going to change. The “little pond”, as the small portion currently in front of the Associated Students building is often referred to as, will be going away. With a $100,000 state grant having been awarded to Cypress College in order to build a new, state-of-the-art facility for the VRC, groundbreaking is scheduled to occur this winter, according to an email sent out by the Office of Campus Communications.
Manny Luna, 37, a psychology major who works part-time at the VRC said, “As you can see we need a lot of space and it will allow us to have more accommodations for the veterans.” Cypress has over 600 veterans in attendance, according to a brochure put out by the VRC, with the VRC providing guidance on class registration, academic counseling, and resources both on and off campus, as well as tutors for English and math, computer access, and training on transitioning from military to college life.
Hiba Wehbe, 25, a psychology major, was sitting next to the little pond with her friends when asked how she felt about the coming change. After studying the picture of the proposed renovation she said, “I love it (the pond) and think they shouldn’t take it out… When I’m stressed, I come out and this place puts me in a peaceful place… Fullerton is beautiful – but, it doesn’t have any feature like this.” Her friend, Jamila Etayyem, 24, also a psychology major, chimed in with, “Why don’t they just add a second story, like they have on the other buildings, and not take out the lake. It’s just pretty to look at.”
So, why are they building out and not up? According to Louis Raprager, 38, former Vice President of Student Organizations and member of the council that was assembled to spend the bond money approved by Cypress voters – included in which was the new provision for the VRC- the soil in that particular area of the campus is unstable. “In the long run it was the best idea and the environmental impact was low.”
According to Rae Requena, who works the front desk at the AS offices, the little pond hasn’t been around for more than 15 years and was never part of the school’s “master plan.” Requena reminds students that they are welcome to come in on Mondays from 11 am to 1:30 pm to address the student council with any concerns.
A Google search of “Cypress College pond” brings up a page from the school’s website that says, “The area is described by some students as a deciding factor in their decision-making process.” Will the changes impact those decisions? That remains to be seen.