Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Students propose affordable in-house materials shop in School of Architecture for project supplies

Elizabeth Aguilar-Garcia

The Senate of College Councils passed a resolution from the Undergraduate Architecture Student Council on Thursday advocating for the investment and creation of an affordable in-house material shop for architecture students. 

UASC authored the proposal, signed by over 60 architecture students, earlier this semester to address “overinflated prices” at the University Co-op and give students more convenient access to materials. According to the resolution, almost 36% of surveyed architecture students spend between $100 to $250 on studio materials per semester. 

The in-house materials shop would ideally be located in the materials exchange space of the School of Architecture’s Technology Lab in Sutton Hall, said Marty Hightower and Michelle Alex, architecture students and authors of the proposal. They said the shop would start by selling lower-end, widely-used materials like chipboard and cardboard.

Hightower said a shop would benefit architecture students academically by fostering a “material culture” that allows students to freely experiment with their projects without feeling they need to preserve their supplies. 

“With making these more financially accessible, making these cheaper, more available … your final product will be better of a design because if you have more access to these materials, you can experiment more with them and you can come up with better designs.” 

Interior design third-year Megan Knight said the University Co-op is the most convenient location for students to buy architecture materials, and paying out-of-pocket for items quickly adds up. 

Matt Fajkus, associate professor in the School of Architecture, said it can only be beneficial for students to have resources and materials at their disposal to further their learning.

“I think that we have really good students, and they want to do well and want to have the best opportunities to do well,” Fajkus said. “Likewise, I think our administration … wants to be able to create an environment that’s best for students overall. It’s really a matter of ‘Okay, let’s start this conversation … about how to address this’ because I do think that everyone has the same interest in mind.”

Interior design third-year Cindy Ly said access to resources affects overall project quality because some people will feel better about their projects if they don’t have to worry about the price tag of materials. 

“There’s this feeling like ‘How am I set up to succeed when I don’t even have access to the basic things, the materials that you need for the school?’” Ly said. “You’re already paying tuition, you’re already paying for eating, you’re already paying for your dorm and then on top of that you have to pay for your Co-op supplies, and it just felt so disheartening.”

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