Converted study rooms create discourse amongst students

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    The study rooms on the first floor of the Brown-Lupton University Union were repurposed as office spaces this year for two fraternity and sorority life advisers and three student activities advisers, a student affairs official said.

    The change was made in order to attract student leaders to the area, Executive Director for Student Affairs Administration Mike Russel said.

    Scott Dieste, a junior biology major, said he preferred the Student Organizations area before the change because the offices provided students with a quiet place to study.

    He said the offices offered students all the necessary amenities needed for studying including printers and computers.

    Russel said he wanted students to have a place to hang out and gather comfortably for a game of cards or to watch television. He hoped the Student Organizations area would become the space for that, he said.

    Dieste said the addition of televisions and overall increase of volume in the offices had become an annoyance for those who are trying to study.

    Russel said when the BLUU opened in August 2008, there was a plan to study the effectiveness of the building for two years before making modifications.

    During that time, students primarily complained about the formality and rigidness of the Student Organizations area and the lack of space for students to gather under casual circumstances, he said.

    Relocating the advisers would hopefully change the atmosphere of the area, he said.

    University Union Activities Coordinator Brett Phillips was relocated to the offices and said the new location will allow him and the four other staff members to have greater connectivity with different student groups ranging from Connections, theCrew, Student Development Services and any other organizations that need an area to meet.

    More students use the area now, regardless of whether their particular adviser has been relocated, he said.

    He said the challenge in moving the staff offices is rebranding the area in order to transform the “library mentality” that still exists for some students.

    However, Donato Perez, a senior supply and value chain management major, said that in addition to the library, students need the office rooms to study, especially during finals and midterms when the library is increasingly crowded.

    Working in the other areas offered to students for studying, including the cafeteria, is not convenient because of early closing times, he said.

    Shannon Sumerlin, director of fraternity and sorority life said that students are now using the previously vacant area located in the center of the former Student Organizations area for meetings and forums.

    Since the move, Sumerlin said she is already seeing students she works with more frequently. The ability to interact more with the students has created a much better experience for her as a student affairs adviser, she said.

    Phillips said he has noticed a huge turnaround in the frequency of students passing through the space, including groups ranging from five to 200 people gathering for reasons including men’s fraternity recruitment, Frog Aides interviews, housing purposes and team leader activities.

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