Walking around on your first day of classes, you might notice something different about the hallways. Certain rooms and offices were being renovated, reconfigured or relocated altogether this summer. Some of the key changes for students may be the relocation of the Center for Career and Professional Development, Counseling, Student Life, Residence Life and the conversion of the commuter lounge.
Two of the key changes that occurred this summer were the relocation of two offices: the center for career and professional development and the Nerney leadership institute. “When you start looking for space on a campus there’s kind of a domino effect,” Dr. Jeffrey Gingerich, provost, said. “You say, well we’d like to move the career center here or the Nerney center here and that means we’ll have to move this office here. Ultimately, there’s kind of a logic that helps us to put places in [locations] that makes more sense for them on campus.”
Another challenge that presented itself was the scattering of various academic departments. Certain academic departments have been grouped together so that there’s not a scattering of faculty in various buildings around campus. The construction began around May 23 and was set to end around July 20.
One of the most challenging moves of the summer, Gingerich says, was the psychology department relocation. The department, which was on the third floor of Founder’s Hall, is now located on the first floor of Iadarola. Part of the social sciences department, the Colameco lab, was also moved and put into where the Iadarola graphic design lab used to be. This has caused that design lab to be moved to the graphic design lab in Founder’s Hall, which has been expanded. “In terms of logistics, that’s going to take a lot of movement and equipment movement.”
Most of the communication that was occurring with these moves was between faculty and staff, not a lot of talking happened with the students. In an online survey taken by Cabrini students, 48 out of 76 people said they didn’t know construction was happening this summer. One of the major tasks this summer was trying to communicate out to students the changes that were happening. “Even more importantly, when students come back to campus, letting them know that there have been changes that have been made and good signage so that you know where to go for different things so there won’t be too much confusion,” Gingerich said. “The biggest thing is to know that we’re going to work really hard to convey to everybody where things are on campus and using signs to do that. But just be ready for some changes and that we really think that those changes are going to work best for students, work best for the faculty and staff and alums as well.”
Another part of the online survey was asking students and faculty/staff to rate how important they felt that these moves and reconfigurations were for campus (on a scale of one to five, five being very important):
20 out of 76 people said construction was very important for campus (Rated 4 and 5 out of 5)
19 out of 76 people said is was moderately important (3 out of 5)
37 out of 76 people said is was of low importance to them (1 and 2 out of 5)
One student, who indicated that they were unaware of the changes, also noted that they believed the changes were important. “For the most part, the changes are good but sudden,” Emily Paradise, senior education major, said. “I think the most important changes are the locations of student life, and health services. I think that when people come back to school, they are going to be confused.”
Another student who voiced their opinion on the changes indicated that they did know about the changes occurring on campus. She knew because she was living on campus throughout the summer and saw a majority of the moves and renovations happening around campus.
The changes, however, were rated of low importance to them and said that they were surprised that students weren’t notified from anyone regarding the changes. “I feel like the students should be kept more informed about the changes going on on our campus, “ Nicole Porreca, senior psychology major, said. “That way, students aren’t finding out about all of these changes when they see something on social media or when they return in the fall to find out that a majority of the offices have been moved around.”
Porreca also said that the reason she rated the construction as low importance is because she feels as though there are more important changes needing to be done on campus. “I remember a poll that was done sometime last year that showed where students feel the most important changes should be made, and a popular one was the residence halls and parking,” saying how she agreed with the poll, especially in regards to the residence halls. Porreca said, “I feel like the focus should be more on what the students need, especially the ones who live here for the majority of the year instead of putting time, effort, and money into switching around offices on campus. Not to say that these changes are not important to the departments, but from a student’s perspective, it seems less important.”
Gingerich said how important the changes are for a better working environment for faculty, staff and administrators. One thing of importance was bringing forward the offices and departments that students interact with most, while moving back more of the back offices that students don’t interact with much. “A person’s office is important so finding a place that’s comfortable and helps them to interact with each other is really important. We need to be able to interact with each other in the best way that serves [and] so that we can serve the students the best.” He added that it’s important to use space in an efficient manner and one that isn’t frustrating for people, like the move the occurred with the Cavalier Express Center a couple of years ago.
Be on the lookout for all of the new locations and renovations that occurred this summer. “The great thing about Cabrini is it’s not such a big campus that you don’t have to go far to find the new place. I think it will be exciting for people,” Gingerich said.