Upon entering the Video Production Studio’s (VPS) new office space, finding a place to sit can be a challenge. Other than the three desks that are usually occupied by staff and students, there isn’t much space for anything aside from storage in the claustrophobic back storage room of the KPOET radio station.
VPS’s current office situation has negatively impacted their growth as an organization by forcing them to cut back on work study hours and offering limited space for storage and personnel.
After a long period of uncertainty, VPS members are relieved that they have somewhere to call home — at least for the moment. “Obviously, we have half the space that we used to,” said Junior Executive Producer Francesca Capraro. “But we’re really grateful for KPOET giving us this space as a temporary solution after losing the other room [in the library].”
Other members of the organization expressed appreciation for having their own space, but are frustrated about the drastic downsize in the office space. “Our old space was much bigger, and when there’s multiple people doing work in here, it gets really cramped,” Senior Executive Producer Luis Manzo said. “I can’t really think of too many positives, other than having a space to call our own.”
In the Fall of 2016, VPS was informed by Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty Darrin Good that they would need to vacate their office adjacent to the Center of Academic Advising and Success (CAAS) and find a new space. The organization spent the later half of the semester transitioning out of the old office and working in a temporary space on the first floor of Wardman Hall, home of the Whittier Scholars’ Program (WSP). They were then given the choice of keeping the room in Wardman and running the risk of being forced to vacate due to it being an academic space, or to move into a permanent but shared space in the Campus Center.
After electing to take the shared space at the Campus Center, VPS has since moved all of their equipment out of both Wardman and the first floor of the library, and is currently stationed in KPOET’s back office.
VPS executives say that their group numbers are being impacted. “It certainly has affected the membership as far as who comes in,” said Capraro. “When we were in our old spot underneath the library, we had more people and there was always someone occupying the space. We’ve had to cut our work study[hours] back because we just don’t have the space to function as a regular office. That’s impacted membership as far as who wants to come back and who wants to join VPS.”
Prior to office relocation, many students in the organization earned work study by establishing office hours during which they were available to help students on their projects, and assisting those interested in renting equipment or needing help with editing software. Office hours was a feature that the organization discontinued after the move. “Now the way we offer work study is through projects,” said Capraro, “whether it be for people who are working on their projects or offering to help and volunteer on other projects.”
Although the housing capacity of the office is a problem, the organization’s biggest issue thus far has been dealing with equipment rentals. Due to the small room size, their equipment is split between the main office and a room in Platner basement, which has slowed down the rental process.
“Having equipment split between here and Platner has made things hard on us,” said Manzo, who, along with Capraro is one of the only two members that have keys to the basement. “Those were the two sets that we were allowed to be given, and in the event that we’re both unavailable, we’ll just have to tell students to wait.”
VPS executives have reported that their rental process has been slowed drastically, which is something students have taken notice of. “It’s a lot harder to get your hands on equipment because it’s not all in one place,” said former VPS staffer and sophomoreHannah Cohen.
While some members of the organization are simply adjusting to the drop in work study hours, some have had to find new positions on campus. “I used to get my work study hours during office hours,” said Sophomore Executive Producer Kelly Santos. “Because we don’t have that anymore, I get less work study hours because I’m just relying on projects that come up.”
Cohen had a similar problem. “I did have office hours and work study, but when they announced the move and that office hours were being cut out, I had to frantically find another work study job, which was really hard to do,” said Cohen. “I was lucky enough to find one that had a really flexible schedule, but I obviously would have preferred to keep my work study position here.”
Even though working out of KPOET’s office has been a struggle for members of VPS, the organization intends to continue their search for a permanent space that works out for everyone. However, the process may prove to be complicated.
“It’s something that I’m going to be looking into next semester,” said Capraro. “We definitely don’t want to take over any academic spaces if we’re going to have the same issues that we did in the previous year. We’re going to try and work something out where we can have an actual office space that allows us to function like we used to, but also have protections to where we’re not going to be at risk of being kicked out.”
Finding a space that is not considered academic or one that is not already occupied in the Campus Center will be a challenge for the group. Due to the lack of space on campus, VPS could find themselves in a lose-lose situation, without a compromise with Academic Affairs.