Hundreds gathered to celebrate the newly renovated Kirby Lounge on Friday, October 18. Chancellor Black, Vice Chancellor Erwin, and President Newton all spoke about the importance of having a place designed by students for students.
Planning started about four years ago with the realization that students’ needs in the 1950s, the era that Kirby was built, are a lot different than today’s student’s requirements. For example, the new lounge is equipped with tall tables for charging laptops and phones, booths for group projects, and lights with sensors that power down for sustainability.
Kimberly Newton, president of UMD’s student association, says the renovated lounge improves students’ experiences, “The completion of phase one brings new light to the student life aspect for UMD. The lounge is in the center of campus, bring together all students and will allow for a lot of great opportunities for student groups and organizations.”
Phase Two could happen in the next few years. Jeni Eltink, director of Kirby Student Center, says its focus is meeting space for UMD’s student groups, “Phase II is going to include a reconfiguration of office spaces and the addition of a 'front porch' area for students to meet and interact. Offices for the Student Activities Office and for Student Association, Kirby Program Board, UMD Statesman, and Greek Life will be included in the Phase II renovation. The new office spaces will promote collaboration among these groups.”
The project was funded through student services fees and facilities management, which supported Kirby’s renovated corridor.
Story by Lori C. Melton