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New practice rooms highlight President Fisher’s Opening Convocation speech

Ask any student what they wish Belmont had more of — and no, it’s not another Starbucks — it’s a place to practice.

Belmont President Dr. Robert Fisher announced Wednesday that an additional 27 practice rooms would be opened this semester, as part of his State of the University speech.

“That brings our total practice spaces on campus up to 8,324,” Fisher said through roars of applause from the student section. “I hope that’s enough.”

The additional practice rooms has been a longtime hot-button issue for music students, who say they didn’t have enough space to play their instruments or sing, especially within Belmont’s residence hall practice hours policy.

The practice rooms were just one of several topics Fisher highlighted during Opening Convocation. Among them, the announcement that enrollment for Fall 2017 had reached 8,080 students — just 808 students shy of the Vision 2020 goal.

“It’s an exciting day for Belmont as we, for the first time, experience a student body topping 8,000,” Fisher said. “I’m so proud of the growth this university has experienced and thankful for all of the dedicated faculty and staff who continue to make Belmont a welcoming, academically challenging and beautiful campus where students can develop to their full potential in order to live lives of meaning and purpose.”

Fisher also provided a timeline on the new Hillside area residence hall, which has been temporarily dubbed “Tall Hall.”

“A year from now, folks will be living there,” Fisher said.

Fisher also briefly touched on the “We Believe” fundraising campaign, which has raised $147 million from 12,000 donors, and the newest Belmont programs — among them, public health, mental health counseling, global leadership studies and sports administration.

Fisher stated that Vision 2020 needs the support of students to succeed and wrapped his speech with a question.

“Are you with me?”

The convo then ended with a humorous video of Fisher asking people around campus the same question — to the tune of Electric Light Orchestra’s classic “Mr. Blue Sky,” no less.

Photo courtesy of Sam Simpkins and Belmont Office of Communications

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