News on Social Spaces
Welcome back! I am writing with some good news as it relates to social spaces at Denison.
First, I want to thank everybody who drove the work we did together last semester. It was impressive to see so many students involved. It was also great to find new ways for students and Student Development staff to partner. This was a new process for us. I want to thank everybody who was willing to engage.
Exciting news: On Friday, the Board of Trustees approved the funding to build new permanent social spaces. We need to work together to finish the design so we can build them over the summer and have them ready by the fall semester. Based on the conversations over the fall, we are going to construct two social lodges, each with two interior spaces that can accommodate 75-100 students a piece. We will want more input on the size of each of the four spaces so that they aren’t too small, but also aren’t too large. Between the two lodges we will have an adjacent outdoor space that can also be used for social functions. We are going to build it in the Brownstone lot, behind and below the Sunnies.
We have a lot of work to do to finish the design of the lodges. If you would like to get involved in the lodge designing process, please contact Laurel Kennedy and express your interest.
Updates for this semester:
- More temporary social spaces. Two additional heated tents have been added to the parking lot end of the Sunnies near Good Hall. This placement separates the tents from moving vehicles and is the shortest distance. Please note that we will need to move the tents to a different location at Spring Break 2019.
- Chamberlin. The transformation of Chamberlin’s basement is underway. The new space will include two student organization offices, a kitchen/prep area, restrooms and event space. This will be an alcohol-free space. This will be ready to use by mid-late February.
- Campus bar. We are working on getting a license to be able to pilot this idea. The goal is to use this semester to experiment with different ideas and locations to see if this is something we really want to do long term.
We will also be holding some design sessions starting next week to continue important conversations over policies and process. In particular, students have asked that we work together on the following:
Peer Safety Monitors and Host Groups (Sunday, January 27th, 1-2:30pm). Ideas were generated last semester about new approaches to managing parties where alcohol is served. In particular, there was interest in clearer understanding of the roles of PSMs and hosts, of re-thinking what is encompassed in training, what number of PSMs or hosts are required, and what the relationship of PSMs to hosts might look like, and whether to retain or significantly change PSM positions.
Alcohol standards (Sunday, January 27th, 3-4:30pm). Kegs are currently allowed only in large social spaces, which are restricted to beer and wine only. Conversely, hard liquor is permitted only in students’ personal spaces, such as apartments where smaller gatherings are held (exceptions occur when alcohol is provided by a Third Party Vendor). Some students have expressed interest in wider discussion of these standards and whether to retain or modify them.
Space Registration Process (Tuesday, January 29th, 4:30-6pm). Students are also giving a lot of thought to how social spaces are currently registered, and how this process might change in the future, particularly when the new social structures are built. Questions revolve around logistics (lead-time, for example) as well as process as it relates to equity and access to spaces.
If you would like to partner in decision-making regarding these topics, please sign up by Friday, Jan. 25th at 4:30pm.
I am eager to continue our work together. If you have any questions, concerns or want to talk, you can contact me via email.