Student Union undergoes changes

With all of the remodeling and repurposing that took place this past summer, all three floors of the Carolyn Herrmann Student Union look very different than they did when students left in May and the changes are not over yet.

Though plans for the renovation of the Student Union Great Room have been in the works since last fall, the joint Senior Gift Committee – Mercyhurst Student Government (MSG) venture has taken longer than expected.

“We are working very hard to make the student union a more comfortable space,” Sarah Allen, director of the Campus Involvement Center and adviser to MSG said.

Lindsay Beers photo: Changes to the Student Union Great Room are a work in progress. Finishing touches to the space have yet to be added.Lindsay Beers photo: Changes to the Student Union Great Room are a work in progress. Finishing touches to the space have yet to be added.

When asked what still needed done to the Great Room, Allen replied that there are still a lot of finishing touches to be completed, including a gas insert for the fireplace, connection to Direct TV for the flat-screen televisions and the addition of accessories such as area rugs and artwork.

“I am so excited for it,” said sophomore Julie Smicinski. “It sounds like it will be a great place to hang out and do homework.”

Students have definitely taken notice of the division of the Great Room from the rest of the Union which was completed over the summer.

“I like the enclosed commuter lounge,” said senior and commuter Brittany Barko. “Hopefully, this will be the first of many changes geared toward improving campus life for commuters.”

Sophomore Lauren Smith said, “The fact that the Great Room is closed off is awesome for studying, privacy and events held there. However, I do wish the furniture took up more room though; maybe they could add some comfy couches or something.”

Though the completion date remains uncertain, MSG is planning to hold an opening ceremony around mid-October. The goal of the renovation is to make the Great Room more inviting for students to hang out in.

In addition to the new decorations and walls in the Great Room, several departments have new locations within the Union.

Both the MSG and the SAC offices have moved from the second floor to the basement, located next to the Laker Inn.

Since their new location typically receives more student traffic than the second floor, MSG and SAC hope to achieve greater visibility to students.

The Campus Involvement Center has relocated from next to Campus Ministry on the first floor to the offices vacated by MSG and SAC. Sarah Allen said that the new location is better suited to the needs of the expanding department and has “been getting just as much student traffic.”

Director of Service Learning Colin Hurley and AmeriCorps member to Service Learning Bethany Brun made the biggest transition, moving from the first floor of Egan to the space right next to Campus Ministry.

Betty Amatangelo, Campus Ministry secretary, thinks that the Service Learning department’s new location has strengthened its relationship with Campus Ministry, especially where student service opportunities are concerned.

“It has really helped collaboration between the two departments,” Amatangelo said.

Overall, the many changes aim to add to the convenience and appeal of the Union for students and staff.