A Glimpse Inside New Sharples

Courtesy of Aser Brandon Sorongon

On Feb. 23, Associate Dean and Director of Student Engagement Rachel Head led the Student Government Organization (SGO) on a walk-through of the newly renovated Sharples Commons before it opened for the general student body. Throughout the tour, Head emphasized the purpose of Sharples’ design as a welcoming student space. 

Immediately upon entering the building, SGO members encountered a stone doorway overlooking a red banner with the words “Welcome to Sharples Commons” emblazoned in white. “The intentionality here is that we have a lot of good sunlight coming through and it’s a grand entrance down into the first-floor level,” said Head, referencing the previously dim Sharples Dining Hall. 

Conference rooms at the sides of the entrance are equipped with couches and TVs fit for movie screenings and gaming. As not all the furniture has arrived, Head noted that the rooms would likely become available for reservation in early March. 

On the ground floor, SGO members were shown the new spaces for the Crumb Cafe and Essie’s Corner (formerly Essie Mae’s), which had not yet been equipped with the necessary kitchen appliances. With multiple dining options in close proximity, Head pointed out that students could choose where they wished to eat upon arriving at Sharples. 

Head then led the group through the lounge area to a crafts room. “It’s not a maker space, but we are hoping that we come up with a cooler name than the ‘craft corner,’” she joked. The room will be supplied with various materials, such as chalk, paint, and construction paper.

The group was finally led to the student lounge area. Equipped with a litany of couches, a portable stage, a screen, and a projector, Head envisions the area as the primary student space in Sharples Commons. “We feel like this is the student living room,” she said. “And we feel like the students need to dictate to us how the space needs to be used.” 

Head stated that decisions about how the space would be used would be reserved until after a semester of feedback and thoughts from the students. On Thursday, Feb. 29, from 1-3 p.m., there will be an open house tour of the Sharples Commons and a screening of “Mamma Mia” in the lounge, along with food, games, and prizes later that day from 7-10 p.m.

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