A possible five-star idea

DKS Editors

After a night out Thursday, the last thing some students want to do on a Friday is go anywhere. Besides, they need to rest up for Saturday night.

That decision usually leaves one enticing option: a movie night in the dorm room.

But for many students – especially freshmen and sophomores living on campus without cars – the prospect of renting a movie is impossible. The trek to Family Video or Blockbuster on State Route 59 may be a pleasant 30-minute adventure in sunny weather, but add snow and 30-degree weather to the journey and suddenly it is far less appealing.

Hence, the Undergraduate Student Government’s idea to add a movie rental store in the Student Center makes a whole lot of sense. Jonathan Bey, executive director of USG, said although no plans are finalized yet, USG hopes to have the rental store in operation by next school year.

Now all USG needs to do is execute the plan wisely. In the past, some student government plans have been too ambitious and bureaucratic to succeed.

Former executive director Katie Hale’s plan to design Web sites for all student organizations is the perfect example. It sounds great, but in reality, creating Web sites for all 2,200 student organizations proved to be impossible – not to mention fairly meaningless for students not heavily involved in organizations. Her ideas that gained the most support appealed to the majority of the student population, such as increased PARTA busing in downtown Kent on the weekends.

But we can all get excited about an on-campus movie rental store.

Of course, that excitement will disintegrate if the movie rental store turns into another black hole for students’ money. Bey has yet to discuss the finances of the plan.

Using funds from the student activities fee as the seed money for opening the store seems justified and necessary. Charging students steep fees to rent the movies, however, does not. We do not want to see the movie rental store become akin to the on-campus convenience stores where items cost two or three times as much as ones at regular grocery stores.

To keep costs low, USG should first do its homework by exploring all options. Perhaps USG could help initiate the formation of a DVD and CD rental section at the library. Or maybe USG could bring several Redbox movie rental automated kiosks to the Student Center and other locations across campus.

(For those of you who have not yet had a Redbox encounter, they are the bright red kiosks resembling vending machines that are popping up all over the country in local grocery stores, gas stations and even McDonald’s restaurants. But for $1, they dispense a one-night DVD rental, rather than a carbonated drink.)

Those options would generate the desired outcome – movie rentals on campus – without USG having to shoulder the headache of manning the store and dealing with tardy returns.

Whatever the outcome, we doubt an on-campus movie rental location will bring great harm upon movie rental stores already in Kent. USG’s idea clearly targets the students living on campus who are restricted by their lack of personal transportation.

Eighty-two percent of new freshmen live on campus, according to data from Research, Planning and Institutional Effectiveness. Even so, more data shows that only 35 percent of all undergraduates live on campus. The remaining 65 percent of undergraduates who live off campus will not all flock to campus to rent a movie.

In reality, USG will not be putting any Kent area movie rental stores out of business. They will simply be catering to the needs of a large portion of Kent State’s students. After all, that’s what USG is supposed to do. But we won’t buy our popcorn yet.

The above editorial is the consensus of the Summer Kent Stater editorial board.