By Joshua Ostrer
While students were away this summer, the Reamer Campus Center underwent several renovations.
In particular, the layout of both the Women and Gender Studies (WGS) Department and Multicultural Office were structurally altered.
Until the end of last year, the WGS Lounge had a temporary wall separating the actual department space from a common area used for classes and meetings. This layout produced distractions every time someone needed to walk through the classroom to enter the office space.
“Renovating the Women and Gender Studies space so that meetings and classes can take place without the unintended distraction of someone going in and out seemed like it would benefit not only the WGS program but also those who reserve the larger room for meetings and classes,” remarked Andrea Foroughi, Associate Professor of History and Director of the Women and Gender Studies Program.
The department intends to make good use of its newly renovated space and will be hosting speaker Valerie J. Hoffman ‘75 later this year as a part of the “Feminism for the 21st Century” lecture series.
The WGS lounge is not just for classes and speakers.
“I’m hoping that student groups and other campus organizations that are working on issues related to gender and sexuality will find the lounge is…useful for smaller gatherings and meetings,” said Foroughi.
The Religious and Spiritual Life Office was moved from the basement of Silliman Hall to what was previously Reamer Conference Room 203. The room has been renovated and is now divided into three offices and a reception area. The offices will house part of the department’s staff, allowing for the staff to more conveniently meet with students in Reamer.
“Our offices were housed in the basement of Silliman. We [now] are more centrally located and have better access to students,” said Reverend Dr. Victoria J. Brooks, Director of Religious and Spiritual Life and Union’s Protestant minister.
The Religious and Spiritual Life Office has accepted President Obama’s challenge regarding interfaith cooperation and community service and intends to use the new staff offices to promote it on campus.
“It is always our goal to serve the needs of religiously observant students. This new location will help us do that better,” explained Brooks.
In addition, Brooks hopes to attract any student who is interested in becoming involved with religious life on campus or is interested in learning more about it.
“This location will allow us easier access for our educational goals that span the religious, the spiritual and the non-religious,” said Brooks.