University News

UCS discusses dorm renovations, maintenance

Senior Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Ongoing housing renovations will include updates to Keeney Quadrangle, Andrews Dining Hall and other residential halls, Margaret Klawunn, vice president for campus life and student services, said at the general body meeting of the Undergraduate Council of Students Wednesday night. Klawunn spoke about housing updates and the University’s plans for the upcoming year during the meeting. 

The goal of the current housing renovations is to create more welcoming living spaces, Klawunn said.

Further Keeney Quad renovations will include updates to Arnold Lounge, bathrooms and hallways, and elevators will be installed next summer. Miller and Metcalf Halls will also undergo renovation.

The large, rarely occupied Andrews Dining Hall will evolve into a common space that will include food service, a study area and potentially even a fire pit, Klawunn said. 

The Office of Campus Life is working to improve the housing lottery experience for sophomores to ensure that it is not as “melodramatic” and stressful as it has been historically, she said.

Sophomore housing will be clustered near the center of campus in Hegeman, Hope College and Slater Hall. Forty-five percent of sophomores will be housed in suites, apartments or single dorms, and 55 percent will receive double rooms.

But students have already begun to damage the renovated dorms, Klawunn said, adding that 56 exit signs were broken in Keeney alone last weekend.

“Has it always been that the exit signs are, like, free game?” asked Holly Hunt ’13, a general body member. 

Campus Life has a $56 million budget allocation for the ongoing renovations. Part of this budget will go toward annual updates meant to maintain the renovations.

As a part of a deal made between the University and Providence last May, Olive Street, Brown Street and Benevolent Streets will be University property beginning in January.

This will “tangibly add to the campus,” Klawunn said.

Plans for the Student Advocate Program – a student-lawyer system for administrative and academic action related to codes of conduct – are already underway, said Abby Braiman ’15, chair of the admissions and student services committee.

Braiman said she has met with Jonah Allen Ward, senior associate dean for Student Life, and Beverly Ledbetter, vice president and general counsel, regarding the program.

The Admissions and Student Services committee is in the process of setting up a training manual and the requisite infrastructure for the program, Braiman said.

Klawunn added that the Student Advocacy Program will include a peer education dimension.

UCS committee chairs presented their plans for the coming semester after Klawunn spoke.

Afia Kwakwa ’14, chair of the campus life committee, said students can soon expect deeper bowls in the Sharpe Refectory.

Alexander Kaplan ’14, chair of the student activities committee and a Herald staff writer, said the Student Activities endowment looks “pretty bleak,” but his committee is continuing work to increase funding.

Vice President Brandon Tomasso ’13 said UCS plans to hold raffles for intimate dinners at President Christina Paxson’s house.

The concept came from a meeting between Tomasso, Paxson, and President Anthony White ’13 Friday. Tomasso said the initiative will allow students access and proximity to administrators without needing to go through UCS.

Provost Mark Schlissel P’15 will speak at the council’s meeting next Wednesday.