Associate Director of Admissions DJ Menifee recommends students “lose yourself” inside Alumni Hall. It’s not hard to do, with three floors full of offices, meeting rooms and student nooks that bring surprises around each corner. As students and faculty become accustomed to the new building, they are learning to adapt.
“I really like that it’s an open floor plan [and] that it’s really bright in here … in the library it’s like I’m always falling asleep,” sophomore Maebh Sutton said. “I feel like it’s more of a study atmosphere in here.”
The large sheets of glass throughout the building are both a distinctive feature and a potential downside. Sophomore Lauren Langham, who like many students has only just started to frequent Alumni Hall, worries about lack of privacy. Sitting in a second floor nook, she can look down at the first floor lounge where another student studies.
“Even though the glass does allow there to be a lot of natural lighting, I feel like there is not a lot of privacy,” Langham said. “It can be uncomfortable studying, then looking down and seeing someone else. I feel like I’m being invasive.”
While most students only come to Alumni Hall to study, offices have been seeing increased traffic as a result of the move. Coming from the isolated Borzello Hall, the Career Center has seen an influx in students coming to visit and finds Alumni Hall a more enjoyable place to work.
“I think the work environment is better,” sophomore and student worker at the Career Center Esai Ponce said. “You know, going to Borzello Hall was kind of a walk and being in this building you get to see a lot of faces you didn’t get to see at Borzello Hall.”
“I think we’ve had a lot more students stopping in who’ve never been to the Career Center before,” Office Coordinator of the Bastian Family Career Center Missy Kratz said. “Now they’re wandering around Alumni Hall or studying. We’ve had a lot more drop-ins.” The Career Center recently hosted an event in one of the smaller conference rooms and had a surprise at-capacity crowd in attendance.
Admissions has experienced shifts in operations as well. For one, instead of cubicles side by side, the Admissions counselors now have their own offices.
“Our offices are better set up to facilitate interviews, versus our older home in CFA where we were in cubicles, so you could still facilitate interviews but there were multiple interviews going on at once … It could potentially be hard to hear,” Menifee said.
The Admissions team is still utilizing CFA alongside Alumni Hall. Kresge Hall has the ability to accommodate the 200-some families arriving on large visit days, while the Trustees Room in Alumni Hall is used for smaller panels. Registration still takes place in the CFA Lobby, while families meet one-on-one with admissions counselors and financial aid on the second and first floors of Alumni Hall, respectively.
A new space creates some kinks in the system, such as figuring out the best placement of signs for prospectives and preventing a disconnect between the counselors, now segregated into their own offices instead of in one large room to share. However, sharing a building with other offices is beneficial for Admissions, making it easier on work such as putting panels together and connecting with Alumni Relations.
“I think again as we continue to settle into this space, not just our office, but all the offices.” Menifee said. “The vision behind putting these particular centers in this building is amazing and now we have to capitalize on how to utilize each other.”