By the end of this semester Claremont McKenna College students might find themselves pulling their finals-week all-nighters in much more comfortable chairs and far less crowded spaces.
The CMC Study Spaces Task Force (SSTF), formed last December, is in the process of implementing its proposed changes to the college’s study spaces. SSTF was spearheaded by the Associated Students of CMC in cooperation with Vice President of Student Affairs Jeff Huang.
The proposal, submitted last December to Huang, President Pamela Gann and Dean of Students Mary Spellman, details the improvement of study spaces for the college. It aims to provide more places for all-hours studying, especially after the conversion of Auen and Fawcett study lounges into dorm rooms.
“I think it was really helpful to the administration to have a concrete list of what the students want so they know exactly what they need to do to help,” ASCMC President Jessica Mao CM ’12 said.
One of the main spaces in discussion for extended hours is the Crocker Reading Room in Bauer North. Last fall, the addition of electrical outlets made it more computer-friendly. Currently, it is open until 1 a.m. but soon students may get 24-hour access.
Huang said that while CMC administrators are open to extending hours for the Reading Room, they must first find a place for the valuable collection of letters from U.S. presidents located there. The collection contains hand-written originals by every United States president up to George W. Bush.
The most recently proposed solution for these letters has been to put them in storage. If the letter collection is not moved, 24-hour security would have to be implemented for extended hours to be feasible, Huang said.
The task force also seeks to convert the Frazee room, located behind the Center for Civic Engagement, into a better study space for students. Mao said that improvements for the room would include more table space, chairs and white boards. A room attached to the Frazee conference room, currently not in use, would also be converted into a student lounge for group meetings.
SSTF also plans to make regular CMC classrooms more accessible to students as study and meeting places. A card access system, which already exists in the Bauer and Kravis Center classrooms, would make the transition to extended hours easier as it simplifies some of the security concerns, Mao said.
The plan also calls for the recently constructed Living Room, a glass cube attached to the Kravis Center, to be open 24 hours a day, after the doors are fixed and a security camera is installed. The space is exclusively designated for studying and meeting.
“Everything on the list, we’re hoping to complete by this semester,” Mao said.
Although not considered a space for studying, The Hub is also set to be renovated over the summer under SSTF’s proposal. It will get an updated look to become a better space for students to meet and socialize.
“We want to see if we have the right kinds of furniture… the right feel in that place. [The Hub] was built 30 plus years ago,” Huang said.
The school also hopes to publicize the study places available, Mao said. Once the hours for the spaces in question are made final, CMC students will be able to find a link to the hours and spaces available on the college’s Gateway website.
“Right now there is not a central website or location where people can go [to see] what study spaces are available,” Mao said.
So far, Mao said, the feedback for the projects detailed in the proposal from the student body and the administration has generally been optimistic.
Students and administrators hope that the new and improved spaces for studying and meeting will improve the overall look and feel of the CMC community, Huang said.
“It was never ‘How do we stop this?’ but ‘How do we help this?'” Huang said. “It was all very positive.”
The full text of SSTF’s proposal can be found online at the CMC Forum.