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Offices relocate in wake of remodeling project

Nov. 30, 2009

KALAMAZOO--Several campus offices have been shuffled, making room for 35 registered student groups to take up residence in Western Michigan University's new Student Organization Center.

Built with student input, SOC serves as an office and meeting complex for a variety of WMU's registered student organizations. It is located on the main floor of the Bernhard Center and occupies the area that used to house Auxiliary Enterprises.

Plans call for Student Activities and Leadership Programs to relocate to Bernhard's second floor from the Faunce Student Services Building yet this fall. That ongoing project already has led to moves for the Office of the Ombudsman and Advocacy Office for Transfer Students and Military Affairs.

Offices affected

The main office locations for the units that have moved from Bernhard are:

  • Auxiliary Enterprises--Room 4046 of Moore Hall.
  • Advocacy Office for Transfer Students and Military Affairs--Room 1353 of Ellsworth Hall.
  • Office of the Ombudsman--eventually, Faunce--temporarily, Room 2104 of Sangren Hall.

In a related action, the Bernhard programming office, located on Bernhard's lower level, has been renamed the Resource and Graphic Design Center. The office is now more clearly focused on assisting student organizations, and graphic design students will be available weekdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The Resource and Graphic Design Center still coordinates reservations and policies regarding the Bernhard Center's general services, such using display cases, posting literature and setting up stations from which to sell items or distribute literature. The Student Entertainment Team office that was previously housed there has moved into SOC.

SOC grand opening

SOC was officially opened Nov. 4 during a grand opening ceremony that featured remarks by various University officials and student leaders. There also was a ribbon cutting, after which attendees were invited to tour SOC and enjoy light refreshments.

"The Bernhard Center is the campus hub. It's really like the family room and the living room," Dr. Diane Anderson, vice president for student affairs, told the mostly student crowd. "We started working on this seven or eight years ago. Students were involved every step of the way. You all have so much creativity and energy--my hope is that with the help of this space, you're going to take this campus by storm."

President John M. Dunn reiterated that creating SOC was a team effort, praising students for sustaining the University through their involvement in organizations, service on committees and willingness to provide constructive input.

"I would venture to bet that we have the best, most involved student association of any campus in Michigan," Dunn said. "This Student Organization Center is about you. You'll keep the doors open for the next generations of students."

Also speaking during the event were Nate Knappen, president of the Western Student Association and Adrienne Light, president of the Campus Activities Board. That duo also participated in the ribbon cutting, along with Dunn; Anderson; Ted Petropoulos, director of the Bernhard Center; and Chris Sligh, director of Student Activities and Leadership Programs.

SOC features

Construction on the SOC project began in May and concluded in September. The new student complex is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and accessible 24 hours with a Bronco Card. It is modeled after a traditional student union, and incorporates the latest sustainable-building technology.

SOC offers communal work areas as well as offices, cubicles, pods and multiple reception areas. There also is a conference room with state of the art communication technology, a kitchenette, and storage space for registered student organizations that have not been assigned offices.

In addition, the construction project included the creation of a pass-through corridor, so people using the parking lot behind Bernhard no longer have to walk around the building to gain entry. The corridor is situated between SOC and the Bernhard Cafe and Market.

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Media contact: Jeanne Baron, (269) 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

WMU News
Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
(269) 387-8400