University News

U. buildings extend access until 3 a.m.

Student demand for study spaces results in extended access hours for JWW, Smitty B and B&H

Senior Staff Writer
Thursday, February 20, 2014

J. Walter Wilson, Barus and Holley and Smith-Buonano Hall were selected as late-night study spaces, open until 3 a.m. through swipe access.

After the Undergraduate Council of Students conducted a successful pilot program last semester, J. Walter Wilson, Barus and Holley and Smith-Buonanno Hall will stay open for students until 3 a.m. via swipe access, UCS leaders said. 

The Council decided to prolong these buildings’ closing time from 1 a.m. to 3 a.m.  in response to student feedback from avenues such as the UCS Fall Poll and UCS office hours, said UCS President Todd Harris ’14.5.

“It seemed to have a good showing last semester — we got a lot of good feedback from students saying that they liked having the buildings open,” Harris said. “As we continue to hear feedback, if students want different buildings open, we’ll pursue other options as well.”

The Sciences Library and Rockefeller Library do not have many large study rooms, making it “hard to find rooms where groups can study together,” said UCS Treasurer Alana Bhatla ’16, who spearheaded the pilot program. “So opening up these classrooms seemed like the most efficient way to add more spaces where students could do that.”

The buildings were selected for the pilot program because they were already swipe accessible, Bhatla said. The Department of Facilities Management “wanted to make sure that students using those spaces later at night wouldn’t make them too dirty … so this semester we’re just starting off with having those three buildings open,” she said.

Looking ahead, UCS could further extend the hours and expand the number of buildings, as long as the Department of Public Safety and Custodial Services approve, Bhatla said.  One option under consideration is implementing 24/7 access during finals period, she added.

Facilities Management workers have voiced only minor complaints about students trying to stay in the buildings after 3 a.m., said Darlene Williamson, assistant director of operations and data systems for Facilities Management.

“Those buildings are cleaned overnight from 4 to 7 a.m. so that they’re ready for the next day of classes, so Custodial (Services) just worked with me and I worked with UCS to make sure that students would stick to the 3 o’clock cut off, so that the buildings could be refreshed for the next day,” Williamson said.

UCS Vice President Sam Gilman ’15 said the program aims to increase both the accessibility and diversity of study spaces. “We’re trying to give students more access to study spaces that are closer to them,” he said, noting that students living on the Pembroke campus can now use more nearby study spaces.

“The idea was … to have a diverse set of places where students can go and work later and feel that they have different environments that they can study in and stay in the places they like to work,” Gilman added.

“The building openings for study hours was a UCS project that I helped to support,” wrote Dean of the College Margaret Klawunn in an email to The Herald.

“It was a student-driven effort,” she added. “I think we can continue as long as students find it useful.”

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