The Student Center bowling centre, once a favourite spot for students due to its free bowling, has taken a hit in its popularity following the implementation of a five Qatari Riyal gaming fee. To many students, the question they are asking is “Why do we need to pay?”
Student workers have been reporting that the number of students coming to bowl has dropped significantly from highs of over 100 students a day during the free bowling period to approximately 65 a day after the payment system was started.
Despite the fact that bowling is cheaper in the Student Center compared to anywhere else in Doha, “It’s the fact that they have to pay something that makes them [students] not want to come” said Mai al-Jundi, one of the student workers on duty in the early afternoon. But the fee also forces a sense of responsibility among students as before the fee was put in place, students “were very careless before,” al-Jundi said, “and so far we’ve had far less incidents.”
Curt Kenoyer, the Assistant Director for Campus Life, explained the reasoning behind the levying of the five riyal fee. “We made the decision to charge for both those areas [the bowling and arcade games] to try and help offset the repair and maintenance equipment costs” that would inevitably occur as a result of use, he said.
The operational budget, also, did not include having a fulltime technician maintaining the machinery, Kenoyer said, the primary reason for implementing the fee. He also said that the bowling fee was priced at five riyals because students didn’t make the salaries faculty and staff made hence they pay a five riyal fee as opposed to the 10 riyal fee for faculty and staff.
But Jassim al-Majid, one of two students using the bowling alley, said “There’s nothing in here. They should be putting water, at least or something to drink.” He also said that he did not understand the purpose for paying to use the bowling since no additional services have been put in place as a result of the five riyal fee.
This denotes a lack of communication on the side of the Student Center management as the negative attitudes of students surrounding the fee has effected the popularity of the bowling centre. Only through word of mouth has the fee been justified to students rather than through more official channels. Communication between students and management would make the imposition of the fee more understandable to students.