Academic Commons in Cravens, FAC have grand openings

Students are getting more and more places to study on campus with two new Academic Commons locations.

The Fine Arts Center held their grand opening of their Academic Commons, located on the first floor, on Wednesday and The Commons at Cravens had its grand opening on Thursday.

FAC’s celebration on Wednesday started off with students, faculty and staff familiarizing themselves with the new study area, while refreshments were served.

The Academic Commons in FAC will be open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Jennifer Markin, student services coordinator, said the new area is a resource for all to use.

She also encouraged everyone to come back and take advantage of the Academic Commons area.

“If you’re a Potter College student and you’re looking to have this place reserved, we do — we reserve it out in two-hour blocks…,” Markin said.

She then opened the floor to David Lee, dean of Potter College.

“One of the things that has been a hole for us at the Fine Arts Center is that we’ve not had a space like this,” he said.

Lee said students have told him that they needed a computer lab in FAC, but he thinks that Markin had the right idea because the Academic Commons is a much more flexible space than a general purpose computer lab.

“If you have your laptop, you plug it in, if you need a quiet place to study, it’s right here,” he said. “If you need to do group work, it’s right here.”

Lee said a whole range of students’ needs can be answered at the Academic Commons.

“It’s a commons, and I really like that term because it’s meant to be a place where students in particular, faculty and staff certainly are welcome, but students in particular can kind of convene to address whatever they need attended to today,” he said.

Students at the event said they liked the new study area.

Irvington junior Andrea Stith said she’s glad they used this space.

“It’s a good space for students to hang out, and I really like the student artwork,” Stith said.

She said she will probably use the study area, since she’s always at FAC and has huge gaps in between classes.

Another student that liked the new area was Louisville junior J. Morgan Shaffo.

“It’s really nice and a quiet place to do homework and charge your laptop,” Shaffo said.

At the Commons at Cravens’ official opening on Thursday, President Gary Ransdell opened his speech by thanking all of the people who worked together across campus to plan, design and create the new space.

“What’s really cool about this project is the teamwork,” Ransdell said.

The Architectural and Manufacturing Sciences Institute and Information Technology, along with many others, put a lot of effort into creating the area.

Ransdell, Gordon Emslie, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, and Connie Foster, dean of Libraries, hope to use the Commons as a way to lure prospective students to the hill.

“We think parents will just be wowed when they walk into this place,” Emslie said.

The new Commons area includes 28 lab computers, email stations, wireless capability, collaborative booths and more.

“A library is an essential place where knowledge unfolds,” Emslie said.

Emslie feels that students will be drawn to the Commons at Cravens more so than the old space because of the physical appearance and resources available.

Guatemala junior Andrea Natalia Fuentes Rodriguez agreed that the new space is much more inviting.

“It looks nicer and makes me want to be here and do my work here,” Fuentes said.

The Commons at Cravens has both areas for students to independently study or collaborate in groups. The area opened for use Jan. 2 and the computers were installed mid-January.

Foster said she believes that this new area will be very beneficial to students.

“All of this has been done for the students,” Foster said.