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6 March 2013

SAC to feature 24-hour study space, Starbucks

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Courtesy _______

Courtesy _______

College students are no strangers to the phenomenon that is pulling an all-nighter. Once the Student Activities Center (SAC) opens in the fall of 2013, University of Miami students will have a space to stay on those nights when sleep isn’t in the cards.
According to Student Government (SG) President Nawara Alawa, many of the past SG administrations have requested that the library stay open for 24 hours.
“In order to ensure that students are safe and secure while they study, there has to be a building that can be secured at those hours,” Alawa said.
The security concerns with the Richter Library led Alawa to suggest the SAC as the appropriate location for the new 24-hour study space. The library is not a good place, she says, because the first floor cannot be secured.
“You have a really open stairwell so even if you turn off the elevators, people can go to the second floor and the stacks,” she said.“… When I say secure I mean … there is [only] one way to lock off that area.”

The study space in the SAC will hold different kinds of seating in order to cater to as many students’ study habits as possible. There will be cubicles for private individual study, individual study desks, group seating and lounge seating.

According to Alawa, 24-hour lounges are popular on other college campuses.

“Dan Westbrook also did a lot of research on other UCs and student activities centers across the nation, and he found that many of them had … a 24/7 space,” Alawa said.
Westbrook, executive director of the University and Student Activities Center, said he pulled inspiration from lounges in schools like Harvard, Yale and Cambridge. The idea was to mimic the feel of those campuses but with a Miami twist.
“I think the interior designers and architects working together with the students … really came up with a good way of bringing that feel to the space and still having that University of Miami flavor,” Westbrook said.

A new Starbucks location near the lounge will be open 24 hours as well, according to Alawa.

“With the whole new dining contract and the changes that are going to be occurring, there is the idea of a 24-hour Starbucks being thrown around,” Alawa said. “So we said maybe that could go really well with coupling it in the new Student Activities Center.”

Sophomore Jesus Melendez said he is excited to have a new space to study and sees benefits for both commuters and residents.
“I try to plan out my studies so I don’t have to pull all-nighters because I can’t physically keep myself up that late,” Melendez said. “But … I think that would be extremely convenient for, not only myself as a commuter, but for residents as well who might think their roommate is annoying, and they can’t study in their dorm.”