At New College, we believe that the best decisions are made through balance and compromise. This belief was proven once again through a highly successful collaboration between New College students and the administration to create mixed-purpose spaces where students can study and socialize in between classes.
Generously funded by the students of New College through a capital levy, renovations were recently completed on the Student Centre in Wilson, the Student Council offices, Wilson lounge, Wetmore lounge, the computer lab and study rooms in the D.G. Ivey Library, and the atrium in the New College III building.
The first phase of the renovations began in 2008 under the helm of then-Principal Rick Halpern and New College Student Council President Jason Sossin Marin, with the addition of study spaces in Wilson Lounge and the creation of office spaces for student clubs and groups in the lower level of Wilson Hall.
Building on the positive response to these efforts, a second phase of renovations began in the 2010/11 academic year with a more comprehensive vision to reinvigorate student spaces at the College.
Shannon MacInnes, the New College Student Council President at that time, recalls that “as a council, we recognized that improved student spaces at the College could help diminish that sense of not having a place to meet and hang out with our peers, especially between classes. Our council also felt that a lack of adequate student space was something that hampered New College from engaging with its large commuter population.”
To achieve this goal, New College staff and students worked together to create a space where students could live, work and study, enabling them to become more fully integrated within the New College community. Ron Vander Kraats, Director of Business Services, believes compromise was the key to their effective consensus-based decision making. “This project is a perfect example of balance and compromise,” he says. “The collaboration of students and the administrators made this plan run very smoothly.”
On March 8, 2012 New College hosted an event to officially thank the students for their financial contribution to the capital levy which funded the recent renovations, and to acknowledge the assistance from the NCSC in coordinating the project.
Also acknowledged was Terence Van Eslander of Van Elslander Carter Architects Incorporated, who donated his services to the project. “Terence shared our vision right from the start,” says Vander Kraats, also noting that his work with the Faculty of Arts & Science’s Sidney Smith Building and the Faculty of Engineering had further qualified him for the task.
Principal Yves Roberge emphasized the importance of collaboration from all members of the community in his opening remarks that evening. “New College was built, not by one person, but by all the people who live, study and work within it,” he said. “The vision and generosity of today’s students will ensure the next generation will not even know [the needs of the past] had existed. This is how a community grows: by working today to help those who will come tomorrow.”
More photos from this event can be found on New College’s Facebook page.
by Whitney Mcknight