Office spaces shuffled around, optimized for student foot traffic

The Student Life Division announced several Harre Union office moves in the August 2022 edition of the Beacon Bulletin. Shifts affected offices located both originally in the Union and other campus buildings.

With the Office of Multicultural Programs’ move to Loke Hall, the potential arose for other office spaces to shift within the Union. Assistant Vice President of Student Life Carrie Whittier viewed the office changes as a beneficial opportunity for more effective student outreach and streamlined communication between different departments. 

“When the decision was made to move the Office of Multicultural Programs over to Loke Hall, we began a conversation about what would move into that space,” Whittier said. “There was also a presidential initiative related to the strategic plan that had a desire to have the Career Center and Alumni Engagement working more closely together and in a space together.”

The Center for Career and Professional Development is now located on the second floor of the Union in Suite 200. Upon entering the space, the Career Center is located on the right side, while Alumni Engagement is on the left. The multipurpose room located in the space is still available for student use. 

The Center for Student Involvement moved to the first floor in Suite 100, taking the space of what was formerly the Career Center. Whittier found this move to be an ideal change for student organizations.

“[Suite 100] has very high student traffic, there was a need for there to be a student mailroom…and this space allowed for that to happen,” Whittier said. “The Suite 100 space had the largest workroom where they will have their own supplies, storage that they did not have before, space to make banners, cut flyers, make bulletin boards, prep for programs, all of those types of things. So that was not a space that student organizations had previously but they do have in this new space.”

The Office of International Programs expanded their space to Suite 250 and continues to offer resources for study abroad, global education and other programs.

Residential Life and Harre Union Administration shifted to Suite 230, taking the Center for Student Involvement’s previous space; however, commuter students have an updated area within the same suite.

“We moved support for commuting students out of the Center for Student Involvement and put it in with [Residential Life] so that the commuter kitchen stayed the same upstairs and expanded some space for commuting students,” Whittier said. “Up in the 230 suite, there are all those drawers that are on the right hand side. They were intended for student organization storage, but they weren’t really being used. Now those are all available for commuters to check out, get a lock and leave books in there or their laptop so while they’re on campus they have a permanent kind of place to be able to have for the whole year, which is great.”

Also within Suite 230 is an office and workspace for Residential Learning Coordinators and Resident Assistants as well as a combined space for the Union event services team. 

Another notable change was the Esports Arena’s move to LL60 in the Union basement. Due to the president’s office moving to Heritage Hall, space opened up in Kretzmann Hall for the Integrated Marketing and Communications team—previously housed in the Union basement—to move into. That change allowed the esports team to move two floors down into the larger space. 

“We know that esports is growing—we have the largest number of students participating in esports this year—so we moved the Esports Arena from the second floor down to the basement because they don’t care about windows, right? They’re playing games at all times of day,” Whittier said. 

The new arena also includes other additions such as a study room, a viewing area and a coach’s space. 

Meanwhile, the former Esports Arena on the second floor was converted back into the 24 hour computer lab. At the back of the lab is also a new international student lounge.

“Our Office of International Programs has really taken over that space and decorated, and international students can all swipe into that space, so it’s a place for our international students to feel like they have a lounge on campus and feel a little more at home,” Whittier said.

Overall, Whittier believes the new configurations are a beneficial change for the Union that maximizes all available space.

“While everybody maybe lost something that felt comfortable to them or an aspect of their office that they really loved, everybody gained and students gained across the board in these new spaces,” Whittier said.

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