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  • "Stadium Expansion for OUR Future" - A Georgia Southern Student Eagle Club Editorial

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    "Stadium Expansion for OUR Future"

    Starting next Tuesday Georgia Southern students will have an opportunity to vote on a fee that will support expansion of Paulson Stadium. An expansion of the football stadium has been sorely needed for many years to cope with the growing number of students. Georgia Southern football has routinely averaged more people than the stadium seats and Spring Graduations are at overflow capacity, forcing parents and grandparents to sit on the grass hills. The stadium plays host to more than just football; from graduations to concerts, the direct benefit will encompass all students and faculty alike.

    Looking at the numbers, there are only 4,000 seats allocated for students at football games, yet in 2011 football games averaged just over 7,900 students. At the 2012 Spring commencement, we had over 2,200 people receive undergraduate degrees at ‘The Prettiest Little Stadium in America’. There was an estimate of 23,000 people in attendance. This goes to show that Georgia Southern needs a larger venue just to hold undergraduate commencement. Expanding Allen E. Paulson stadium will not be just for football or athletics, but for the university as a whole. A larger venue will also give the university ability to sign even larger musical and performance acts than we have had in the future. The fact that Paulson stadium isn't large enough for some artists is a limiting factor that cannot be overlooked and we have the ability to change with the addition of a small fee each semester.

    Football was reinstated at Georgia Southern in 1981 by legendary, Erk Russell. Previously, all football games were played at Statesboro High School. Paulson Stadium was opened for football games in 1984 with only a few minor face lifts since then and a student body of less than 8,000. We now have over 20,000 students and expect to be over 25,000 in a few years. If you took the enrollments of Furman, Chattanooga, The Citadel, Wofford, Samford and Elon, we would have more average fans in attendance at Paulson Stadium at any given football game, than they have students combined. This goes to show that we have not previously expanded Paulson with the university’s growth, nor do we realize how small our stadium is for what we need.

    The stadium expansion fee will only be used for seats on the North side of the stadium more commonly known as the "student" side. The stadium expansion fee will not be used for any seats on the South or "alumni", side of the stadium. Any expansion to the "alumni" side will be raised through possible donations and other funding. Passing the stadium expansion fee will prove greatly beneficial to students either during football games, at concerts, or for their family members at commencement. You wouldn’t want your grandparents sitting on a grass hill when you graduate, do you?

    We as students have been given the privilege to have our voices heard on an issue that is integral to the future enjoyment of anyone associated with Georgia Southern University. On September 25th, Georgia Southern students will vote on a fee that no other student in the state has ever had to vote on. We ask for everyone to join us in voting YES to an expansion of Allen E. Paulson Stadium, for the future of Georgia Southern University!


    McKenzie Smith and Taylor Jones
    Student Eagle Club Board Members
    GSU Student Eagle Club