College Taskforce Proposes New Space for Students to Gather

A task force appointed by President Mercer has been put in charge of creating a new space on campus for dining, socializing and meeting space, according to the Spring Capital Projects Report.

According to the report, the task force envisioned repurposing the current Copy Center for the space, to be known as the Academic Commons Center. Proposed relocation sites for the Copy Center include the Lodge, the Residence Life office, the Public Safety space, and the College Park Apartments Maintenance Garage.

The idea of the new Academic Commons Center is being welcomed by most students because they think the College is currently lacking student space. Sixty students were asked to name the places they hang out after their classes in a poll conducted by "The Ramapo News," and 49 students listed their dorm or house as one of their top two answers.

Emily Gachko, a junior, believes that the lack of student space drives people to spend more time in their dorms and therefore makes it difficult to meet new people.

"As a commuter, it was difficult to meet new people outside of class because there are so few communal spaces for students to hang out. I think this is one of the reasons Ramapo has a reputation as a suitcase school. There was nowhere for me to go after my classes other than home," Gachko said.  "As someone who now lives on campus, that hasn't at all changed. It's just become going back to my dorm instead of driving back to my house."

Taylor Hassa, a sophomore who commutes to campus, had the same difficulty finding places on campus to go and socialize.

"It was really hard finding places to hangout. I had time to kill and was awkward and didn't know where to go. I try to get home or to the gym when I'm done with classes, but there's always that downtime that I don't know what to do with," said Hassa.

Junior Victoria Adam said that she spends most of her time between classes in her dorm.

"The library is dark and desolate. It is usually a place to study alone," Adam said. "The Fishbowl is just a bunch of couches in the middle of busy hallway. It's distracting and uncomfortable."

However, not all students think that a new student space is necessary.

"I definitely think there's enough places to hang out on campus because basically no matter where you go, you will always find a space," said sophomore Ella Alfaro.

Alfaro spends her downtime with her work friends at the Civic and Community Engagement Center, the library, or the Atrium.

"If Ramapo added another location similar to J. Lees, I think students would take to it well because the tables are convenient and the setting isn't as formal as the library, but it would just be a plus. I'm not sure that it's a necessity," said Alfaro.

Students hope the Academic Commons Center would bring anything from a Dunkin Donuts to a late-night dining service.

"I would like to see some kind of café that is open late," Adam said. "If the school can have overnight desk attendants, why not late-night workers at a café?"

Despite all the different things students want on campus, the reasons behind wanting to add new student space are all similar.

"The thing about all the places on campus is that they have no personality," Gachko said. "The school needs to have somewhere that students actually want to be. That would be a great start, regardless of what the place was."