Working Group Talks Space
Published: Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, November 13, 2012 20:11
As part of the university’s efforts to improve the on-campus social atmosphere, the Campus Life Working Group met Sunday afternoon to discuss how the university utilizes student space.
The group, which was formed in September 2012, includes four subcommittee chairs: chair of the subcommittee for space Jack Appelbaum (COL ’14), co-chairs of the subcommittee for policies Nate Tisa (SFS ’14) and James Heine (COL ’13), events and programming co-chair and Associate Director for the Center of Student Programs Amanda Carlton. The group is chaired by at-large member of The Hoya’s Board of Directors Sam Schneider (COL ’13), Associate Vice President for Student Affairs Jeanne Lord and Joan Riley, an assistant professor in the School of Nursing and Health Studies.
Led by Olson, the group aims to develop proposals about ways the university can improve the vibrancy of social life.
At the meeting, GUSA President Clara Gustafson (SFS ’13) said that the group will be vital to the implementation of the campus plan, which committed the university to housing 90 percent of undergraduates on campus by the fall of 2025.
“It’s important to address how we are going to change policies to [give] incentive [to] students to move social life back on campus,” Gustafson said.
The working group is composed of three subcommittees formed to address issues of space, policies and events and programming.
According to Appelbaum, the working group plans to re-evaluate how the campus uses space and examine how space impacts social and academic life.
“Are there underutilized social spaces and academic spaces? Are there spaces on campus that are being monopolized by certain groups?” Appelbaum said. “We need to re-envision the usage of space and discuss the potential impacts on student social life.”
However, GUSA Senator Nolan DiConti (COL ’15) stressed the importance of also addressing problems of over-utilizing spaces, referencing the use of Kehoe Field, which he said club sports teams must often compete to reserve.
The meeting also explored the possibility of expanding study and social space in Healy Hall.
“I don’t foresee students’ going into Healy to socialize on weekends, but it can be an alternative study space for Lau,” GUSA Vice Speaker Zach Singer (SFS ’15) said.
Gustafson also agreed that Healy Hall could become a unique academic space.
“The thing I really like about Healy is it’s a historic, iconic building on campus,” Gustafson said, “It would be great to make it as a space to allow students to socialize and study and be intellectually empowered by its surrounding historic significance.”
Students at the meeting said that they were concerned that both Healy Hall and the New South Student Center are not located in the center of campus.
In response, Lord emphasized the importance of having multiple social places throughout campus.
“You have to have a number of smaller spaces strategically planned around campus [to] make them accessible,” Lord said.
The remaining conversation focused on students’ dissatisfaction with enforcement of party rules and students’ relationships with Department of Public Safety officers.
GUSA Senator Jay Factor (COL ’14) said that most students see parties that are held off campus as less likely to be broken up due to campus policies.
“Off-campus parties seem to have more leeway, and it is less likely that they will call the same attention as on-campus apartment parties,” Factor said.
Singer said the inconsistent enforcement of policies for on-campus and off-campus parties further exacerbates misunderstandings about those policies and the role of DPS.
The working group aims to solicit more student inputs through surveys and town halls to improve the quality of social life on campus throughout the
CORRECTION: A earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that there were five subcommittee chairs on the working group. There are four. The group is chaired by Sam Schneider (COL '13), Associate Vice President for Student Affairs Jeanne Lord and Joan Riley, an assistant professor in the School of Nursing and Health Studies.