In a recent help desk announcement, the Office of the Associate Vice Chancellor for Campus Development announced that starting the first term of academic year 2016-2017, the stalls found at Animo Biz at Br. Bloemen Hall will no longer be open to aspiring student entrepreneurs.
As the University works towards establishing itself on the international stage, especially with the recent ASEAN integration, the units under Campus Services and Campus Development continue to change and, ideally, improve the campus environment.
Health and wealth
In the recently publishedASEAN University Network report, it was noted that the University lacked a variation of healthy food options for its students. The DLSU Parents of University Students Organization (PUSO) raises the same concern as more parents have sent complaints regarding thevariety of food available to their children studying in DLSU.
In response to PUSO’s concerns, Director of Campus Development Jay Calleja and his staff have decided to stop the Animo Biz initiative in order to utilize the stalls for other matters.
The Campus Development office, in collaboration with Campus Services, has taken the initiative to search for commercial
establishments that can provide healthier options for the Lasallian population at reasonable prices.
“We cannot guarantee that students will sell healthy food,” Calleja reasons in an interview. “So, we have to take control to make sure students are given varied options.”
This decision is timely as the University looks for new avenues for revenue to prevent a steep increase in tuition fees. By opening the space to commercial establishments, the University can charge regular rent rates and utilize all available stalls.
“Sayang ‘yung space,” Calleja explains. “Not many students apply for a space in Animo Biz, so there are often many empty stalls.”
Calleja further notes that students tend to take a while to set up their stalls and this leads to lost profit.
“There is usually a very small gap in between terms. This makes it difficult for stalls to keep changing since there is a lot to do,” he states.
Lack of student clamor
Not many students have raised their concerns regarding the decision to close Animo Biz to students.
“No one checks the help desk announcements,” University Student Government (USG) Executive Secretary Kitkat Cuenca explains, “so we are currently making pubs to spread awareness about this change.”
The email has, however, been read by a number of students, from whom there are currently mixed responses.
USG Vice President of Internal Affairs Micah Fernando hopes to get a better idea of the students’ preference via a survey to be released next week.
The offices of Campus Development and Campus Services have expressed in a joint statement that they have many plans in store for the new Animo Biz. First on their list is a name change.
The two offices have identified possible donors with the help of the De La Salle Alumni Association. Although nothing has been finalized, Calleja assures that the new name will likely come from the highest donor.
“We have a lot of plans,” Calleja mentions, “so we need extra financial support.”
Other than the name change, Calleja says that they plan on opening the stalls to non-food or beverage establishments. There have been recent talks with the Animo store to give them the opportunity to sell DLSU shirts. Basketball specialty store Titan has also expressed interest in selling shoes in the area.
No plans have been finalized just yet, but Calleja advises that they will release a final list of concessionaires by the end of third term this academic year.