The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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UC Facelift Greeted By New Tenants

The University Center is home to some new tenants.

The Division of Institutional Advancement was moved into the University Center from Marillac Hall this semester after a major renovation that transformed the entire building from a student living space to professional offices to accommodate its new inhabitants.

New high-tech classrooms were built for students to replace the rooms in Marillac that the division occupied.

“It’s terrific to have the whole advancement family together in one building,” Vice President of the Division of Institutional Advancement Victor Ramos said about the move. “Being here together it’s a lot more interaction. It’s not like where we were in Marillac, on three different floors and four different spaces.”

The division has many tasks and departments, but its primary objective is to connect with alumni in order to benefit the University financially.

Alum and upperclassmen familiar with the old look of the building will notice the changes immediately after entering, from the smell of freshly-painted white walls, and the new hardwood floor in the main lobby that replaced the old Red Storm University Center logo.

The two large lounges on the right wing of the first floor and the entire second floor were gutted and opened up to create more space, and large windows were added on far end on the first floor, showing a view of Carnesecca Arena.

The two-story building that once housed a cafeteria, the Greek Life commons and various offices for student organizations, such as Student Government, Inc. and Haraya, now has wide, carpeted halls, with office desks and relaxing spaces for the more than
70 people that work in the department.

“The transparency, the openness, it makes for a great work environment,” said Greg Leporati, who works in the Communications Department on the second floor.

He added in comparison to Marillac, “I can interact with my colleagues more easily, we can get more workdone more efficiently and you feel more involved with every project going on. It just has made the whole work environment better.”

There is a reception space, a fully equipped conference room which seats 25 people and 10 total conference rooms throughout the building. There are also a number of informal meeting spaces spread throughout the building, where workers can meet for informal breaks or just to relax.

The building creates a professional feeling for when past students of the University may return.
“Back in Marillac, if alumni were to come visit our office for Alumni Relations, it just would not be as welcoming
and impressive looking as a space,” Leporati said.

The department has a printing center on the second floor and a student calling center across the hallway. During the year, the division holds phone-a-thons, where students are hired to call alumni for donations. The room will be especially helpful for those events, as it will be able to occupy up to 30 people when completed.

Ramos said that the move will benefit the department in many ways, such as it makes and puts the division in an area that alum are familiar with, and it puts the division next to the Career Center, which is still located on the left wing of the building. The Career Center’s goal is to assist with alumni and current students in finding careers and jobs,and being near the center will allow the two departments to coordinate more easily.

Despite the positives Ramos said there is one thing the renovations lacked: a food court.

“We move out, Dunkin’ Donuts moves in,” Ramos said about the convenience of their old home. “That may sound a little comical, but it was great having a food court so close. For us here we now have to leave the building.”

The redesigned building does have a new kitchen on the second floor that seats three tables of four. There are windows that give a view of outside, two refrigerators, cabinets, a microwave and coffeemakers.

The move is complete, but the renovations aren’t finished just yet as the room which used to hold the old Torch office on the second floor and the Marketing Division room on the first have not been renovated, and there are still minor changes being done on the
first floor.

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