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Campus renovations aim to enhance student life

Summer renovations on Northeastern’s campus are vast and varied, ranging from the construction of new research and learning spaces to expanding the menu at the International Village dining hall. But they are tied together by one common thread: enhancing the overall student experience.

Two renovations—the recently announced expansion of Snell Library’s Digital Media Commons and the construction of the Arnold S. Goldstein Simulation Laboratories Suite in Behrakis Hall—aim to enhance teaching and learning at the university.

The Digital Media Commons upgrades, which will be completed by the start of the fall semester, are part of a series of developments throughout Snell Library. The new space will include enhanced technology-focused space to support immersive learning and collaboration, including a 3-D printing facility, upgraded studios, and next-generation audio/visual infrastructure.

At Behrakis Hall, construction is underway on the new Arnold S. Goldstein Simulation Laboratories Suite, which will facilitate healthcare instruction using computer-driven mannequins and lifelike models, allowing faculty and students to replicate clinical symptoms and modulate realistic human responses. The facility, named in honor of the late Arnold S. Goldstein, a Northeastern alumnus who was a professor of pharmacy and served as acting dean in what was then the College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Professions, was funded with a $2 million gift from Goldstein’s widow, Marlene.

“These resources will offer students rich learning environments that provide a range of academic benefits, including group collaboration, academic instruction, access to cutting-edge technology, and experiential education,” said Stephen W. Director, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs.

A series of other renovations focus on improving student life outside of the academic realm.

When the International Village dining hall reopens this fall, students will have many more options from which to choose. They will be able order custom sandwiches at a take-out deli, for example, or try a slew of new options at food stations designed specifically for those with allergies or preferences based on the Jewish or Muslim religious traditions.

A new kosher station will provide food prepared under the supervision of religious authorities.

The halal station will serve food according to Islamic dietary laws, and the new kosher station will be overseen by a mashgiach (Hebrew for “supervisor”) who will manage food preparation. According to Maureen Timmons, director of Dining Services at Northeastern, all kosher food on campus had previously been prepared off-site and delivered in the form of frozen meals.

A new kosher station will provide food prepared under the supervision of religious authorities.

Another new feature, “Zone 7,” named in recognition of the seven foods mostly likely to cause allergic reactions, will feature a menu free of eggs, milk, peanuts, shellfish, soy, tree nuts, and gluten.

“We are constantly focused on making improvements that enhance student life,” said Laura Wankel, vice president for student affairs. “Expanding the menu at International Village continues our commitment to providing a wide variety of dining options across campus.”

The summer also marks the first phase of a project in which members of the facilities staff will install keyless entry systems in more than 20 residence halls. Under the new system, students will be able to open the door to their rooms by waving their Husky Card in front of the lock. Keyless entry systems will be installed in the remainder of the residence halls in phase two of the project, at which time other potential uses for the technology will be assessed.

Also scheduled to open at the start of the fall semester is the Center for Student Involvement’s new Programming Lab. The lab, to be located in a renovated space on the second floor of the Curry Student Center, will offer student organizations a drop-in “Genius Bar”-inspired clearinghouse for program planning and design with newly-trained student-employees who are available on a drop-in basis to assist group leaders who previously needed to schedule a meeting with a university staff member. The lab will also serve as a location for organizations to hold quick executive board meetings and as a short-term storage site for student groups in need of storing equipment and supplies prior to on-campus activities.