Roznowski Learning Commons – Merging the Social and the Intellectual

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Prior to 2015, The University of Olivet’s Burrage Library served students in a traditional way. The library housed computers, study spaces, and thousands of books and periodicals, but the leadership of OC imagined something more. In order to continue to provide an unrivaled Olivet education, a renovation was necessary with the goal of combining learning, fun and collaboration in a college setting.

Thanks to a lead gift from Steve ’82 and Melinda (Strother) ’82 Roznowski, the ground level of Burrage Library was transformed to provide a complete social learning experience for The University of Olivet students in 2015. Equipped with updated technology, state-of-the-art study resources, and meeting rooms, the Roznowski Learning Commons merges the social and intellectual interests of The University of Olivet students in an environment that infuses presentation, research and learning technologies into a contemporary space.

The renovation comes in part of the academic and co-curricular enhancements outlined in the Responsible Learners – Responsible Leaders campaign. The campaign is designed to ensure The University of Olivet continues to serve students both today and into the future.

The Roznowskis credit The University of Olivet for helping them develop the building blocks to learn, something both Steven and Melinda strive to continue and pass on to their five children. When the couple thought about helping others, their relationships with friends and professors from OC stood out. “We want to see Olivet succeed,” Steve said early in the development of the learning commons. “The renovations to the library will make it a more contemporary environment.” Melinda added, “We believe in the college and the value of a liberal arts education.”

Modernizing the Library

The learning commons model made sense for Olivet right away, aligning with the college’s pride on personal interaction and collaboration. OC adopted the format in order to foster engagement, such as students working together on small group projects, even further. Ultimately, facilitating the learning and study habits of Comets is what it’s all about.

“With the means of information delivery constantly evolving over the years, the state of libraries has vastly changed,” Karen Chaney, Ph.D., dean of faculty and assistant professor of religious studies and ethics, said when the renovation was completed. “For this, libraries have had to adjust in order to meet the demands of today’s students and patrons.”

In strides toward enhancing the student experience, the commons is completely equipped with advanced technology, and students have access to large digital screens on which they can share their work with others in private study rooms. Seating is flexible and casual, like walking into your favorite corner-street coffee house. In addition, the commons is now home to Information Technology Services, allowing students and industry professionals to be in the same location, so direct access is possible.

Learn more about this and other Responsible Learners – Responsible Leaders projects and how you can get involved.


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