Center geared toward students

The Office of Student Life hosted the official grand opening of the Student Involvement Center on Jan. 21.

The center, which was the location of the Delta Airlines call center before Sept. 11, 2001, was transformed into the Student Involvement Center last semester.

It has been open to students since November.

However, the Office of Student Life decided to officially recognize the center this semester, once it was complete, with pictures on the wall and supplies in stock.

“We were lobbying for this to become student space so that student organizations, which are growing, would have space on campus where they could do their work,” said Betty Mulkey, director of student life.

The center features the student offices of Activities Programming Board, Norse Force and Norsin’ Around.

It also has computer workstations, lounge space, the music of WRFN, a station for making banners, and even a television on the way.

Freshman Kate Brodbeck, director of Norse Force, said she gets a lot of use out of the Student Involvement Center. Brodbeck uses the banner-making station at least once a week.

“They have everything you could possibly think of,” she said.

The station’s tray of materials includes such items as paints, brushes, glues, scissors, tape and markers.

“I’ve made a ton of posters on that table, because it’s just so convenient and so easy,” Brodbeck said. “There’s always people down there willing to help you. It’s a nice, fun environment.”

Many of Brodbeck’s officer meetings also take place in the lounge area.

Tiffany Bellafant, assistant director of student life, agrees that the Student Involvement Center is a great place for small meetings to take place.

“Say two or three people need to have a quick, little meeting, and they don’t want to reserve a space on campus,” Bellafant said.

“They can just come sit down and meet or just hang out and talk.

“It’s just another place for involved students to relax, mingle and work with one another.”

Mulkey added that the center is not only for students actively involved on campus, but it is also a great resource for students that are not as involved.

“Even uninvolved students can come down here and meet people and find out how to get involved,” Mulkey said.

“There’s a nice transition from there to our office. So if they see something that piques their curiosity, then they can come down to our office and find out what’s going on and how to get involved.”

While materials are currently free for students to use at their own will, future budget cuts could possibly affect the center when it is time for materials to be replenished.

According to Mulkey, should funding to the Student Involvement Center be cut, the Office of Student Life may be forced to charge students for using supplies such as banner paper.

“It’s really nice that it’s all free,” Brodbeck said, “because you don’t have to go through the trouble of getting the paint and all that stuff from the stores.”

Brodbeck also mentioned that it would be costly for student organizations to buy their own materials, which would result in activities being less advertised.

Brodbeck said she would be disappointed if the university took away funds from the Student Involvement Center.

“It’s a very good investment on the university’s part,” Brodbeck said.

Mulkey and Bellafant said the staff is doing everything they can to make the center as accessible as possible.

The center is open from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday.

“Not many students know yet that they have access to it,” Brodbeck said. “They don’t quite understand what it is.”

Brodbeck thinks the center should be promoted more.

“We’d like more [students,]” Mulkey said. “We hope that they’ll come down and use it, and make use of what’s available here for them.”