IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Anticipation builds for Center for Community
The Center for Community (C4C), due to be completed in September 2010, represents a dream come true for the student support offices, which have been waiting for years to move into a physical space that more suitably supports their missions.
The center will be home to Career Services, the Center for Multicultural Affairs, Counseling and Psychological Services, Disability Services, the GLBT Resource Center, the Office of International Education, the Ombuds Office, the Office of Precollege Outreach and Engagement, Victim Assistance and other departments and programs.
The most eagerly anticipated result of the move is the ability to provide centralized services. “Physically being together will really be phenomenal in terms of making sure that students interact with everything that’s available on this campus,” said Lisa Severy, director of Career Services.
The center will provide much needed additional office space that is more suitable to each group’s needs. For example, Disability Services (DS) will move from a third-floor residence hall with a ramp that is steep and out of code to a location with ground-floor access.
Currently the Office of International Education has 4,000 square feet divided between the basement of the Environmental Design Building and a rented University Club apartment. The move will increase space to 6,000 square feet. Director of international education Larry Bell said the added space will include private offices for meeting with and advising students on sensitive matters.
Another joy for Bell and his staff will be the beautiful space to greet students and visitors from around the world. “Since we are in some ways the front door of the university to the world, we will have a space where we can greet, say, the president of a foreign university in a way that shows the campus’s level of commitment to global study,” Bell said.
The J. D. Abrams Multicultural Student Center will be comprised of four heritage rooms and a large inclusive space designed as a gathering hub for students. “The goal is to showcase diversity in all of its forms, and our international students will contribute to that space in a very nice way,” Bell said. “It will be a great mix of students who have an interest in global awareness and sharing that with others.”
Bell anticipates that the C4C also will benefit staff who work there. “In the new space all of us will be interacting much more directly and cooperatively with each other," he said. "We’re sharing the third floor with Career Services and the Center for Multicultural Affairs and we’ve already talked about programs and trainings that we can do together for cross-fertilization of services.”
The center will also be home to Housing and Dining Services administrative offices as well as the largest dining center on campus with the capacity to serve 900 people and the flexibility to host special events and meetings.
“This is a long sought-after dream,” said Disability Services Director Cindy Donahue. “In addition to enjoying the camaraderie of working with staff from all the other departments, it will be a bonus to share in the community atmosphere and synergy anticipated in the center that most importantly will provide a welcoming and accessible environment for all.”
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