Before the renovation of El Comedor, the Student Union dining area in Brownsville, two billiards tables served as the leading leisure activity for the campus community. Students expecting to see the same two tables this semester were in for a surprise.
Communication senior Sylvia Rendon used to play pool between classes to help pass time and relieve stress. She lost that luxury in Fall 2015 with the closing and remodeling of El Comedor.
“I’ve been playing pool since I was 12 years old,” Rendon said. “I used to play pool here all the time. It was a stress reliever. I made a lot of friends and met a lot of people playing pool.”
Edna Zambrano-Martinez is the director of the Student Union on the Edinburg campus and oversees operations at El Comedor.
Zambrano-Martinez said that the pool tables were “in pretty bad shape.” She said plans to purchase new pool tables “seem very unlikely” due to limited space and the ongoing classes in the Student Union.
“When [UT Brownsville] and [Texas Southmost College] split, my understanding is that UT System paid off the debt on that union building,” Zambrano-Martinez said. “So, students were no longer paying a fee. So, it became an academic space.”
The game room in the Student Union on the Edinburg campus is equipped with several televisions, game stations and air hockey and pool tables. The Edinburg campus has DIRECTV due to an existing contract from legacy institution UT Pan American.
The Brownsville campus has no cable television service, but Zambrano-Martinez said, “I think they’re working on getting a contract for the whole Brownsville campus now.”
Roberto Cantu, Campus Auxiliary Services executive director at UT Rio Grande Valley assists Zambrano-Martinez with food service operations at El Comedor.
“Two things that we are working on are getting, TVs and a sound system on the Brownsville campus,” Cantu said.
He said the two pool tables are in a storage room on the Brownsville campus.
“Students are very important to us. We listen to their needs and we will continue to do what we can to serve their needs,” Cantu said.