The Toppel Career Center plans to open its new state-of-the-art facility to University of Miami students and alumni on Aug. 26.
“I’m really excited about it,” said Christian Garcia, the executive director of the Toppel Career Center. “It’s something we’ve spent a lot of time and effort on.”
The new career center will be located behind Pavia Garage at the former site of the English Composition offices and Writing Center at 5225 Ponce de Leon Blvd.
The center will be twice the size of the original 6,000-square-f00t facility, and composed of two buildings – the North and South wings – connected by a grand lobby and an outdoor courtyard.
The North Wing will function as the technology and recruiting area. This wing features an expanded computer lab, interview labs, video conferencing rooms and an employer’s lounge.
The South Wing will house the career appointment and advising area, and a multipurpose room on the second floor.
“Everything will be integrated in terms of the latest technologies,” Garcia said. “We don’t want geography to be a barrier for students. We want to make it easier.”
The new career center cost approximately $4 million, most of which was donated by both UM alumna Patricia Toppel – who has the career center named in honor of her and her late husband, Harold Toppel – and the Parents Council, Garcia said.
Current UM students have expressed their excitement about the new career center.
“Picking and obtaining a career are not skills a student is either born with or taught in school,” senior Elan Aleman said. “Toppel is there to be the necessary and excellent source for UM students.”
Junior Max Sanchez believes that Toppel is a great source for students who are figuring out their career options after graduation. However, he said he was concerned about Toppel’s change in location. Toppel’s move away from the center of campus may hinder its ability to draw students to the center.
Garcia said he and his staff are planning to orient new students and reorient old students and alumni on the new career center. One way he hopes to catch students’ attention is through a block party during Toppel’s annual open house. The party will feature outdoor activities, tours of the building, prizes and food.
The Toppel staff will also be advertising via social media, putting banners across campus and creating “fun maps” that explain the center’s new location, Garcia said.
“I think it’s critical for students to use the career center,” he said. “Most people don’t realize it, but we’re the link between college and the real world.”
The Office of Admissions is slated to move into Toppel’s old location in the University Center. The decision to move the admissions office led to Toppel’s relocation, Garcia said.
“The university as a whole has always wanted this,” he said. “It’ll make it easier for new students and parents to find the admissions office.”