Even Ricky Gresh, senior director for student engagement and chair of the Stephen Robert ’62 Campus Center planning committee, doesn’t know why the Leung Gallery is so quiet.
It was supposed to be a social space, he said.
One of the goals of the renovations of Faunce House, Gresh said, was to increase the square footage of shared meeting spaces such as the Leung Gallery, in addition to accommodating student clubs.
The campus center has permanent spaces assigned to Brown Student Agencies, the Student Activities Office, the Undergraduate Council of Students, the LGBTQ Resource Center, Brown Student Radio and other groups. A computer lab on the third floor contains computers for use by student publications and a room for painting and projects.
Creating open spaces for socializing, studying and meeting meant decreasing the rooms allocated to specific student groups, Gresh said. Many clubs that had individual offices in Faunce before the renovation now use storage lockers and multi-use meeting rooms throughout the building. A room dedicated to service, political and social justice organizations houses many groups that previously had their own spaces on campus.
Gresh said he held meetings with student leaders to discuss the renovations, and because he was working so closely with student groups, he didn’t feel there was any unwillingness from student groups who were losing their offices.
Before the renovation, “some groups didn’t even know they had space — some groups really used the space minimally,” he said.
Student groups and organizations previously in Faunce were moved to T.F. Green Hall or J. Walter Wilson.
Sam Eilertsen ’12, executive producer of BTV, said his group was unhappy when they found out in the spring that they could not return to their studio in Faunce after the renovations. Instead, the group was transplanted to T.F. Green.
During the renovation phase, BTV was transitioning away from cable broadcasting and to Internet-based programs. Eilertsen said the administration didn’t think BTV needed the Faunce space anymore due to the changing format of the station. Their studio in Faunce was given to BSR.
“I thought that they did have a reasonable explanation for why they weren’t giving us that particular space back,” said Eilersten. He said that administrators did work with BTV to find the most suitable permanent space on campus for the group. He said his one complaint about the new location is the difficulty of transporting heavy equipment from T.F. Green to shooting locations around campus.
Gresh said several groups had individual needs that he took into account during the relocation process. For example, Project Health needed more space than what it was given after the renovations and was moved into Hillel.
The BSR studio, production space and office were specifically remodeled to suit a radio station. BSR Station Manager Fiona Condon ’12 worked closely with the project manager to create a space uniquely suited to the organization’s needs. The renovations added special phone and data lines, as well as rows of shelves for the station’s extensive CD collection.
Andrew Migneault ’11, president of the Computer Network Management Group, helped create the computer lab in the new campus center specifically for student publications. Before the renovation, the group had computers in the 14th floor of the SciLi and in a lounge in Pembroke.
The computer lab in Faunce houses five computers, a large conference table and a separate storage room. Migneault says the biggest user of the computers is the College Hill Independent, which publishes weekly, but he estimated that ten annual or semestral publications will use the space this year.
In addition to meeting rooms and open lounges, the LGBTQ Resource Center has a lounge within their three-room complex. Preference is given to LGBTQ-affiliated groups, such as the Queer Alliance, but Kelly Garrett, coordinator of the center, says any student group is welcome to ask her about using it.
New, brightly colored signs in the hallways of the campus center direct visitors to the organizations and spaces in the building. Because the mezzanine above the Leung Gallery connects both sides of the floor, visitors can traverse the entire level easily.
Garrett and Condon think these changes have made their locations more accessible to the public. The LGBTQ Resource Center was moved to the third floor of Hillel during the renovations, and BSR spent the year in T.F. Green. The temporary locations were difficult to find, Garrett and Condon said. Condon added that the noise of practicing musicians interfered with the radio station’s broadcasts.
“I feel like we’re a little more visible than we were before,” said Garrett. She said there have been more visitors this year than last year.
Despite the centralized location and large meeting spaces of the campus center, Condon said student groups aren’t utilizing the meeting rooms as often as they could.
“The rooms I see allotted to specific groups have relatively low traffic,” she said. Garrett and Migneault also mentioned they would like to see more usage out of their spaces.
Gresh said he is pleased with the renovations, but willing to make changes if student groups have problems with the new setup. He said he is discussing the option of card swipe access for members into organizations’ rooms, as opposed to a key box, allowing for better security and easy access.