What are students saying about the new LLGC?
The Lower Level Gallagher Center recently underwent a face-lift, but what are students saying about it's new look?
Besides the glass-walled media room replacing Under The Taps, the added seating, the removal of student accounts, records and financial aid, and the rearranging of Campus Activities and Campus Ministry, there is one alteration that seems to be stirring up the most talk amongst Niagara University's students.
If you guessed the new Student Organizations Office, you may be on to something.
Instead of having multiple meeting areas, there is now one space for all clubs and organizations to share.
With its glass faÃ§ade, this space has been designed for students to work on their various projects.
Students are the only people using that space. They are allowed to hold meetings and organize themselves, said NUSGA President Chris Zukas.
What do students think of this new approach?
I do like it, because of the openness, said Diversity Advocate President Shawn Chatmon. People will see that and say ˜I wonder what they're meeting about', he said.
It's more inviting to everyone else, Zukas said.
The central space of the room has storage units, soft seating, some tables and chairs, a printer and the clubs' and organizations' mailboxes. There will eventually be eight computers set up for students to use.
When facing the room, there are two offices to the right. The larger office belongs to NUSGA, while the smaller office is shared by The Niagara Index, The Niagaran and CBP.
Laura Brownlie, The Niagaran editor-in-chief, had mixed feelings about her new office space.
My initial reaction was that I was kind of concerned. I don't understand how all three of us can function well, she said.
As she led her first-year writers into the room they seemed to be confused and generally just surprised at the size, she said.
Brownlie also stated, For them to come from their high schools, where they had room, they might be surprised.
Previous to this semester, the Niagaran and The Niagara Index shared an office space where conference room 110 is now located. A narrow hallway led students from the central space in the Lower Level Gallagher Center to the back left entrance. The office was located between records and student accounts.
If you didn't know (the office) was there, it didn't exist, said Brownlie. (The new Student Organizations Office) centralizes a lot of things.
Although NUSGA has the largest office in the Student Organization Office, it is still significantly smaller than its previous space.
It will take some getting used to, Zukas said. We made sacrifices to include more people in the general space. It's a test of patience and endurance.
The space that NUSGA used to have is now open and used for the multi-purpose room.
I think we are pretty fortunate with what we have. It truly is a blessing that we even have this, and in such short notice, Zukas said.
On the other end of the Student Organization Office is a conference room equipped with 12 chairs, a large table, two whiteboards and a projector area.
The conference room is nice, but it's small, Brownlie said.
NU clubs and organizations with more than 12 staff members may feel a little squeezed.
If the 12 chairs aren't enough, they can look for other places on campus, Zukas said.
NU senior Christina Gehrig wants to participate in Campus Ministry activities this academic year and may use the conference room for meetings.
If it's booked and you need it, it's hard. Everyone has a busy schedule and it's hard to coordinate. Sometimes it's not a set time every week, she said.
Zukas says NU planners have already thought of that. Their solution, of which completion is yet to be determined, is an iPad organizer.
The iPad will be mounted on the wall near the conference room. An app will be installed for meeting reservations. Students will be able to send an email with a meeting request to block off time to use the conference room. The calendar will eventually be visible to anyone who wants to use it from their own computer, Zukas said.
The Student Organizations Office is what most students seemed to be talking about, but what about the rest of the LLGC?
You can sit in a comfortable setting or at a table, Gehrig said.
It no longer feels like a basement to a gym, Zukas said.
I do think the changes are very beneficial to the university as a whole, Chatmon said. Before you would hear things, but not really know what was happening.
It seems like a really good place to hold school events, said NU freshman Kimberly Nedza, who visited NU before the Gallagher renovations took place this past summer. There used to be a lot of offices. It's a lot more opened up and that creates a more friendly, open environment for everyone.
Zukas stated that Assistant to the President for Planning Judith A. Willard and facility designer Karen A. Crumb took a route that students need to be proud that it was taken. They asked NUSGA. There were five to 10 different meetings for students to give input, and they had a survey.
They let me sit in on the planning committee for the Gallagher renovations, he noted.
Although there have been many changes made, the Gallagher Center is still incomplete.
Hopefully, before the beginning of October, there'll be more soft seating and brand new furniture that ties in the color purple, Zukas said.
There is a lot to look forward to. This space is always going to be evolving, he added.