Over winter break, the second floor of the Whitten University Center (UC), which formerly housed ballrooms and meeting spaces, received a makeover with new floors and offices to bring six departments closer to students.
Students can now visit the offices of International Admissions, Financial Assistance, Market Research & Communications division of Enrollment Management, Student Employment and Dean of Students in the UC, instead of walking across the street toward the Pavia Garage.
Cane Success Center, a program dedicated to assisting students with their academics and ensuring their graduation, has also been relocated to the second floor of the UC from the Student Services building.
Along with the changes in the UC, an portion of the second floor of the bookstore will also house administrative offices for student life, such as the Office of Commencement.
According to Brandon Gross, the assistant director of the Student Center Complex, transitioning these offices was a decision made with two goals in mind.
“We wanted to bring all of Enrollment Management, such as Financial Aid and International Admission, in one place,” Gross said. “We also wanted to bring the deans’ offices closer to build a second Pavia garage where the Student Services building now is.”
The addition of the offices has cut down on the number of meeting spaces that students can reserve. Reservation requests average 25 per day. However, after 5 p.m., four additional conference rooms in the new offices are available for student use.
“We knew that some space had to be sacrificed,” Gross said. “The loss of the ballrooms will impact the students, but the SAC, meeting rooms [in the offices] and keeping the Storm Surge room will make up for it.”
Ricardo Hall, dean of students, said that the new office is “definitely an upgrade.”
“The space feels much brighter than the older building,” he said. Hall has recently moved into his new office on the UC’s second floor.
“We had almost our own little world, and we weren’t attached to the rest of campus,” Hall said. “It didn’t make any sense to keep painting or continue using the window air conditioning … We definitely made the most of the space, but it was time to leave.”
With the move, Hall anticipates there will be more student traffic in the new offices, especially for Greek life, Pier 21 and Honor Council.
“Being more accessible to students allows for events to be easier to attend to and be more visible by the Patio or on the Rock or on the Green,” Hall said.
Student employees have also been affected by this move for the better.
Freshman Gabrielle Hand is a student assistant for the Dean of Students Office. She loves the new space.
“I love the lighting and the color because it makes the space feel more natural and it makes for a better atmosphere,” Hand said.
Photo Courtesy University of Miami