A New Addition: The University Commons

By Amber Hardy

There is no way you could have been on Carlow’s campus in the past few weeks without hearing about the newly revamped University Commons.  The building was dedicated on Sept. 15, but the buzz about it has been brewing for months.

The commons has moved the location of many amenities that were scattered around campus to one central space.  Mailing services have been moved to the lobby of the commons, and is located directly across from the University Bookstore.  On that same floor is the Student Government Association/Campus Activities Board office.  The library has been upgraded to state of the art.  All the computers have been updated so that documents can be sent to any printer on campus, and there are computer labs on the third and fourth floors.  The campus ministry has been moved from the third floor hallway of Frances Ward to the fifth floor of the commons.  Also located on the fifth floor is the president’s office.  A balcony provides students with another, less formal place to study, or have lunch al fresco and enjoy the view.  The commons also houses a new University Cafe, with the addition of a Starbucks.  As for what will happen to the beloved Franny’s, plans are still unclear.  No other parts of the University Commons will be expanded upon, as the making of the building is felt to be expansion enough.

The University Commons was designed to give new spaces for student creativity and learning.  As stated by President Mellon, the University Commons is a “center point on campus for students to gather together and focus on learning.”  The Commons has been designed to be focused completely on all the different populations of students: adult, commuter, and resident students to gather and be productive.

The art gallery (located on the second floor of the Commons) will be housing many artists’ works.  Currently being featured in the gallery is Diane Samuels, a local artist.  Her artwork incorporates famous literature, such as one painting featuring Moby Dick, to create abstract art.  Samuels has been commissioned to do artwork for the University Commons outside of the art gallery.  Different local artists will also have their work featured throughout the year.  Also anticipate the art of Carlow students, faculty, and staff being displayed in the coming months.

Another spectacle to behold on the second floor is the Donor Wall.  The donor wall features the names of all that gave to make the University Commons what it is.  President Suzanne Mellon tells us that many who contributed to the building were alumni, “giving back to their community.”  Also on the wall are community foundations and individual organizations that contributed to make the building possible.

The commons is the first new building on campus in sixteen years.  It was completely gutted and completed this fall.  The commencement and blessing of the new chapel (located on the fifth floor) occurred on Sept. 15th.  19.9 million dollars was allotted to the building, although it managed to stay under budget.  The building is LEED certified, meaning that it meet certain criteria for energy efficiency.

For the students, excitement about the new building has been the general tone.  Raven B., who is a sophomore, says, “It’s nice, but it’s hard to compare it to the old building since I forgot what it looks like.”  This is the general opinion of the freshman and sophomore classes, as they just appreciate the building for what it is.  Noel B. says, “Frank’s is amazing.  Especially that hot Irish guy who makes the frappes.”  Noel is a transfer student from Ireland who works in the University Cafe, nicknamed Frank’s by the students.  Kayla L. says, “I love it!  I wish all the buildings looked like this one.”  Positivity and gratefulness are pouring from the students, who are enjoying the building and taking full advantage of all its amenities.

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