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The University of Olivet community is often referred to as family. However, the campus currently lacks a central space where students can converge in a vibrant social setting with their Comet family. The proposed Student and Collegiate Center will create an exciting, inclusive place where academic, residential, co-curricular and athletic paths will merge. Funded by the Responsible Learners – Responsible Leaders comprehensive campaign, the center will be constructed on the current site of MacKay Gymnasium and will seamlessly connect to the Upton Recreation Center. It will become the core of The University of Olivet.
The Heart, Body and Spirit of Campus
At the root of the Student and Collegiate Center is the The University of Olivet mission. Students will be able to build new and stronger relationships with one another, resulting in a stronger sense of community, a deeper understanding of diversity and an enriched student experience.
“Relationships and relationship building play a key part in the educational experience of our students, and every relationship needs a space. The Student Center will really be that hub – the key place for relationship building, where students can actively be themselves while feeling safe and supported,” said Jason Meadows ’02, interim dean of student life.
Kelly Patmore ’14, Shipherd Hall director, added, “I know one of the biggest things about Olivet and the thing I remember most from my time as a student is the people who I connected with. The Student Center will create opportunities for students to connect with more than just who they are assigned to in their hallway or teammates. I know it will broaden their horizons and strengthen the community at the same time.”
Senior Michaela Kaliniak, president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, said the center will draw students from all corners of campus for events, study sessions or to simply hang out.
“I believe the Student Center is important because it will serve as a common place to bring everyone together,” Kaliniak said. “Whether you’re a commuter, an athlete, a Greek, a band member or an artist, this center will be able to showcase everyone’s talents in a common place, not just in our separate buildings.”
Maria Davis, Ph.D., dean and provost of the college, added, “We know so much learning goes on in the residence halls, student clubs and organizations, athletics and in other programs. The Student Center will serve as the hub of learning that happens through these other opportunities, and we’re intentionally giving this outside learning a place to happen.”
This learning is especially important to senior Lauren Maxam, president of the Disability Rights Council. Through learning about others and valuing their diversity, Maxam knows a stronger community is created. “With The University of Olivet being such a small campus, there is greater access to learning not only in classes, but about people, our coaches, faculty and other students,” Maxam said. “I believe the Student Center will impact our campus in the best way possible, allowing students to access a new way of studying, a new way of making friends and even a new way to express themselves.”
Jack Caporuscio is confident the Student Center will allow students to connect in new ways, and therefore, create a stronger campus community, but he’s also excited that there will be a tangible home to The University of Olivet’s sense of family.
“The Student Center will perfectly embody what makes The University of Olivet so special – the close working relationships students build with one another, and even faculty, staff, coaches and alumni,” Caporuscio said. “Devoting a space that will be shared by all members of the college at every level to some capacity will allow for interpersonal engagement between Comets that the college has not yet experienced. I look forward to the day the Student Center stands proudly on campus: a space that embodies and contains the heart, soul and spirit of The University of Olivet that has been burning brightly since 1844.”