The Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence is offering two virtual workshops for faculty and instructors on Visual Thinking Strategies, a simple way to engage students. This evidence-based method has been shown to increase critical thinking, observation, and evidentiary reasoning…
Newly Renovated Schine Student Center Opens Doors to Campus Community Feb. 8
Transformed by an abundance of natural light, warm Syracuse Orange colors and a new vibrant spirit, the renovated Hildegarde and J. Myer Schine Student Center will soon welcome students and the entire campus community to discover its redesigned spaces, make fresh connections and appreciate its abundance of features. The Schine Student Center will officially open its doors on Monday, Feb. 8, the first day of classes for the Spring 2021 semester.
Planned in consultation with, and input from, the campus community, the Schine Student Center offers the feel of a home and hub for student life: a place to study; meet up; eat, in accordance with public health best practices; and recharge. Its environs include a generous amount of gathering spaces, new eateries and accessible features, and a vibrant open central atrium that extends from the top floor to the main floor, with a two-story video wall.
Student-facing services and student organization offices are prioritized and highly visible, along with a key grouping of cultural centers—the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Disability Cultural Center and the LGBTQ Resource Center—framed as the Intercultural Collective, which allows deeper, connected conversations around the many intersections of identities. The Schine’s new footprint includes an additional 8,600 square feet of student activity space.
To celebrate the Schine Student Center’s reopening, many activities have been planned for the first week:
- The LGBTQ Resource Center (virtual) Welcome Back Mixer and Game Night, 7 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 11.
- Orange After Dark (OAD) staff will table outside its offices on Wednesday, Feb. 10, to answer students’ questions and offer giveaways. They will also provide stressbuster kits in the Underground.
- The Intercultural Collective will host an open house, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 11, following social distancing and safety guidelines. Students can meet the staff of the three offices and learn about their programs and services, tour the space, pick up swag and watch student spoken word and dance performances.
- OAD and the Center for International Services will host a virtual Lunar New Year event on Friday, Feb. 12.
- OAD will host “Pal”-entine’s Day in various spaces throughout Schine, while adhering to safety protocols, with craft, trivia and other activities, on Saturday, Feb. 13.
- The Campus Store and Food Services will offer tours and specials throughout the week.
Students can explore and experience the Schine Student Center’s new spaces in myriad ways.
“This truly state-of-the-art facility gives all of our students ideal spaces for meeting friends, hanging out, studying, eating, attending events, finding what they are passionate about and developing as leaders,” Chancellor Kent Syverud says. “It is the University’s living room, and it is completely student-centric. This is the experience that our students asked for and deserve.”
Chancellor Syverud notes how many people around campus—students, staff and faculty—were involved in redeveloping the Schine Student Center and making it welcoming to all students.
“This total reimagining also returns the Schine Student Center to its original mission and purpose—to serve our students,” Chancellor Syverud says. “This space brings together many of our cultural centers and offices that serve the spectrum of cultures, experiences and interests that our wonderful students bring with them to Syracuse University. Here, our students can collaborate and learn from each other outside of the classroom.”
Student Association President Justine Hastings ’21 says she is excited for students to experience the Schine Student Center’s new spaces.
“The spaces within Schine were designed to make us feel at home, on campus. Students will now have multiple rooms and spaces to hold meetings, plan and hold events, hang out, and spend time between classes,” Hastings says. “The University listened to students; we asked for different food options, student organization offices and storage, and plenty of places to sit, relax and plug in. This building will provide all of that, and more.”
The Schine Student Center was built in 1985, in an initiative led by Renée Schine Crown ’50, H’84, who provided the primary gift to create this new space for students on campus. The student center, named in honor of Crown’s parents, quickly became the center of student life on campus.
Three decades later, the renovation of the Schine Student Center was featured prominently as part of the Campus Framework, a 20-year plan released in 2017 to guide future campus development. Once again, Renée and Lester Crown took an active role in the process—this time to help reimagine the Schine Student Center into the future.
The campus community also played a critical part in the center’s transformation, as students, faculty and staff shared their ideas and input that were integral to the planning and design process.
“The people, spaces and services within this building undoubtedly shape the student experience. That is why, throughout this renovation, connecting with students about what they envisioned for this space was so important,” says Robert Hradsky, vice president for the student experience.
More than 1,700 pieces of input from students—during graffiti wall sessions, pop-ups in dining halls, surveys, focus groups and more—provided focused feedback on connection, involvement, versatility and food.
The center atrium was opened to bring in more light and connection; the student activities and cultural centers are in new front-and-center spaces; and modern, comfortable furniture—selected after receiving student feedback—was brought in. Accessibility was enhanced throughout, with all exterior grade-level public doors accessible with automatic door openers; smooth floor transitions; upgrades to existing elevators; a fully accessible path through the building from Waverly Avenue to the Einhorn Walk; new fully accessible restrooms on each level; counter heights and work surfaces made universally accessible; and accessible wayfinding signage.
Behind this massive renovation was the work of Campus Planning, Design and Construction (CPDC) staff, and other units within the Division of Business, Finance and Administrative Services (BFAS). The Syracuse alumni-led team of Mackey Mitchell and Ashley McGraw Architects provided the designs, and the project’s general contractor was LeChase Construction.
“Our goal was for our students to have an exceptional redesigned space for them to enjoy and one that truly reflects the needs of current and future students,” says Senior Vice President for Business, Finance and Administrative Services and Chief Financial Officer Amir Rahnamay-Azar, who oversees BFAS. “This renovated Schine Student Center represents an ideal that has come to life, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the Syracuse University community experiences this renovated center of life on campus.”
Another significant component of the upgrade has been the changes to the dining experience, including providing a mix of local and national food options such as Panda Express, CoreLife Eatery, Halal Shack, Biscotti Café and Chocolate Pizza Company, as well as returning favorites Dunkin’ and The Tomato Wheel. New dining “booth boxes” and countertop seating add a new look to the renovated dining area.
The bookstore—renamed the Campus Store—has been reinvigorated with new flooring and lighting. Along with its continued focus on academic resources, the Campus Store also has more room for new University-branded apparel, a late-night food and grocery market, a coffee stand, and an open-mic event space. The store can be accessed both on the 100 and 200 levels of Schine.
“Not only have these physical spaces been transformed, but the activities, experiences and programs will also be transformed, changing the way students engage on campus,” Hradsky says.