Students urged to embrace creativity at new Curry lab

Flexibility is the theme of the Center for Student Involvement’s new Programming Lab. The newly renovated space provides leaders of Northeastern’s 331 student groups a one-stop-shop for information on how to effectively operate their organizations.

Located on the second floor of the Curry Student Center, the Programming Lab is a space where group leaders can meet, brainstorm ideas and utilize resources from the Center for Student Involvement. “When you come here during office hours you will have the resources you need,” said Jason Campbell-Foster, director of the Center for Student Involvement. “It is really going to be a people space.”

Renovation work started this summer, and the lab officially opened its doors last week. Mobile plasma monitors that can connect to Skype are available to students so groups can hold virtual meetings. And Mac computers will be equipped with Adobe Design that students can use to create materials to promote their groups and events.

Over the years the space became a storage facility for student groups rather than a place to creatively work, Campbell-Foster said. So last year, Student Involvement and the Student Government Association reached out to the students to find out what they would want most from the space.

He said overwhelming students wanted a place that encouraged flexibility, where they could drop-in and get the information or help they need.

Kate Chandley, a third-year student and former vice president of student involvement for the Student Government Association, said it was important to try and meet the needs of all the university’s student groups, which is no small task.

“I think this provides a great opportunity,” Chandley said.

She added it also offers meeting space for newly-formed groups that could have trouble finding rooms to reserve on campus.

The lab will host Student Organization Advancement Resources, or SOAR, which are training sessions on topics such as how to motivate group members, tips on be fiscally responsible and how to effectively run meetings.

“We’ve increased its usability,” Campbell-Foster said. “We are really putting our assets for student groups into one central location.”

The lab also has crew members who are students CSI hires through work study or internships. Campbell-Foster said student group leaders can meet with the members for guidance.

That peer interaction, Campbell-Foster said, gives the student employees an experiential learning opportunity—the cornerstone of Northeastern’s education model that gives students an advantage in future endeavors through real-world experience..

“We really want to put students at the forefront of what we are doing,” he explained.

In addition to a conference room, there are smaller tables with white board tops that students can write ideas on.

And the lab’s storage capacity was not completely eliminated. It now offers long-term and short-term storage options for student groups.

The CSI Programming Lab is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday and is closed on Saturday and Sunday. Campbell-Foster said office hours could change based on demand.