Space to connect
Students at commuter campuses like JCCC often head for the parking lot when their classes are over. That will change this fall, as new spaces encourage students to linger on campus, meeting and interacting with each other and with faculty and staff.
Construction on the new spaces was completed just as classes began for the fall 2010 semester. For the first time, JCCC students have a dedicated place of their own to just hang out.
The third floor of the Commons houses the Center for Student Involvement, home base for student clubs and organizations at JCCC. In this spacious room each group can take care of business at a desk with a computer, storage and access to office supplies. There’s a conference room that student groups can schedule for meetings, and even a meditation room available for students of any faith to pause for quiet contemplation.
Next door, the Campus Center provides spaces for small groups to meet or study. Student groups can hold meetings there as well, and study groups can get together to review their lessons. That will also be the place where the college can offer orientations or workshops of interest to students, or faculty can offer supplemental instruction to help students in their classes. Individual students can plug in their laptop and study alone, if that suits them best.
And when they’re done with studying, students can head to the nearby Student Lounge to play ping-pong or foosball; they can also play games or watch programs on one of three 52-inch TV screens. The spaces will be staffed by nine new Student Engagement Ambassadors.
“It’s an opportunity for students to have a place to gather,” said Pam Vassar, assistant dean, Learner Engagement. “Students need to connect with other students in order to connect with the institution. We know such connections lead to success.”
One floor below these new rooms is remodeled space for student media. Gone is the collection of battered desks once used by the staff of The Campus Ledger, the college’s student newspaper. In their place are sleek counters and computer monitors. ECAV, the college’s Web-based student radio station, also has offices and rooms where DJs can play music and reporters can broadcast interviews.
“For media students, this is an opportunity to work in a consolidated convergent environment,” Vassar said. “Sound no longer means just radio – these interviews can be used online. And words no longer mean print on paper – the reporters’ work will appear in the online version of the paper.”
As students get to know one another, the new Commons spaces will become the liveliest place to be on campus.