by Julia Wagner
On Feb. 18 a campus-wide email was sent out by Juniata College’s president, James Troha, announcing the “Exciting Campus News” that “numerous exciting projects and enhancements that will soon enrich your (the students) academic and living/learning experience at Juniata.”
These plans were approved by the Board of Trustees in January and were developed as part of Juniata’s “new strategic plan Courage to Act.” These plans will be happening over the next 24 months and approximately $15 million will be going into these renovations.
$500,000 of the 15 million is going toward the Global Village. “The decision to invest $500,000 came from the Senior Leadership Team, and it was announced to the Global Village Advisory Committee toward the end of January,” said Holly Hayer, associate professor of Spanish.
These plans include renovations to Tussey Lounge that will be in support of the Global Village, which comprises the off-campus buildings known as French house, Spanish house and more. “On Jan. 26 at a Global Village advisory meeting, we were told that the Senior Leadership Team had decided to invest the $500,000 into the renovations of the lounge in TNT and that all Global Village living and learning spaces, would be moved into Tussey hall,” said Hayer.
Some students have voiced their distaste with the idea of removing the international themed, off-campus housing. “I don’t agree with the removing of the off campus housing opportunities for the international students. Placing the international students, all together, in one location does not help to ‘integrate’ them into campus life here at Juniata. It segregates them to one location and keeps them away from the majority of the campus,” said senior Jacob Sinclair.
Sinclair offered an alternative idea to the Senior Leadership Team’s renovation plans. “There can be a hub (or) lounge or a really big kitchen for them (international students) in the TNT building but I think limiting them to one dorm/living situation will be more of a hindrance rather than helpful,” said Sinclair.
Some students are involved with the changes being done. “I met with the architect and the designer, they came in and they wanted to see what our opinions were,” said sophomore Tesia Lewis, who met with the architects working on the project. “They are very willing to hear opinions, student opinions, faculty opinions, they really want to understand what the space is going to be used for and do their best to accommodate that.”
The lounge will be renovated to promote and change the Global Village, but it is also part of a plan to increase global awareness. “The broader priority around global awareness for all of our students is a huge one for us, and having space designated on campus that brings together different segments of our student body is really important, both from a living perspective but also from a learning perspective,” said Troha.
“One of the ways that we intend on doing that is not just in the living component of having some themed housing, but with having a common denominator, such as food,” said Troha. “The idea is to expand the kitchen opportunities that are available, the cooking facilities that are available. So if you are an international student, you enjoy cooking some of your authentic food from whichever country you are from, you’d have the ability to do that.”
It’s not just the physical renovations being done to make this all possible but there is also a “Staffing prospective and a facility perspective. So what I mean by staffing is to have—whether it’s an RD or RA’s in that facility—you have people who are aligned more appropriately with the intent of that space,” said Troha.
“We want that space and people to know that this is an eclectic group of people both from the United States, but also from other countries from around the world who are now living and learning together in one space,” said Troha.
Of course this seems to only be the tip of the iceberg, “I think that if students want to be part of a Global Village living and learning communities at this time, I think that we have to accept that the Global Village living and learning community is something that will be undergoing a transformation,” said Hayer.
“So, while this initial phase is not ideal, in terms of how it’s structured, because we are going from having houses, where you can really create a more of an intimate community in that housing space, to going into Tussey hall, and at this point we don’t have funding to renovate the living spaces, we only have funding right now to renovate the Lounge,” said Hayer.
“But if we look at it as this is a beginning, there is lots of transformations taking place on our campus and if we support this and say yes we’re willing to try to make, to try and be involved with this Global Village living and learning community as it’s going to look for the first year, next year, with this brand new lounge area, with the idea that there is going to be work being done to find more funding to continue more renovations,” said Hayer.
Categories: Volume 97 Issue 7 News