The hushed meeting rooms in Northeastern’s Snell Library and sun-splashed chairs in the Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex have long topped the list of best places to study on Northeastern’s Boston campus—but this year they’ve got competition.
More than 15 buildings located throughout the 73-acre Boston campus have undergone substantial renovations, giving students new options to find a quiet study nook or a more collaborative meeting space to work on projects with classmates.
The building updates created an additional 36,000 square feet of space that students can reserve ahead of time. The work also added 13 new classrooms and updated seating and tables in most residential lobbies, making them more accessible and modern. Available areas can be found and booked through Spaces at Northeastern, a new navigation website.
The updates come as returning and first year students are back on campus after more than a year of social distancing in classrooms and attending hybrid lectures during the pandemic.
“What we did was free up more space for students to have group meetings, study individually, and anything and everything in between,” says Cory Berg, a campus planner at Northeastern who helped identify the renovation spaces. “These areas help us cater to different ways of learning and also accommodate our freshman class.”
Christina Lente, a third-year cellular and microbiology major, booked one of the renovated rooms in Cullinane Hall on Wednesday.
“Being able to reserve a spot is key, because sometimes the rooms in the Snell are all booked way ahead of time,” says Lente, who’d settled into a cushioned, gray armchair. The rooms, which once served as office space, offer a mix of desks, chairs and floor-to-ceiling white boards.
“Especially around lunchtime, if I have a two-hour break between my classes and Snell is really full, I’ll reserve a spot here so I have somewhere to study and get my work done and I’m not scrambling to find a place,” says Lente. Many of the new study areas, including Cullinane, have food lockers and storage where students can leave heavy textbooks or other supplies.
The spaces in Cullinane and Richards Hall, as well as the Stearns Center, are bookable through a new online system called Robin. Students can visit the Robin website or app and use it to reserve study or meeting spaces at other locations as well, including Snell Library, Holmes Hall, Snell Engineering Center, and Dana Research Center.
Yashir Patel, who’s earning her master’s degree in biotechnology, says Snell library is one of the best places to study—especially when she really needs to focus.
“When I’m sitting and studying, I just need complete silence,” says Patel. She chose to reserve one of Cullinane Hall’s first floor offices Wednesday, however, to grab some lunch and take a mask break. “These provide a really nice space to take some time between classes and catch your breath.”
Students also have additional classroom space, says Berg, where they can attend virtual classes, study, or huddle with classmates. Extra classrooms can be found in Hayden, Richards, Cahners, and Cullinane Halls, as well as Forsyth and West Village H.
Berg, along with Northeastern staff in planning and design and facilities, has been working on creating the areas since the beginning of the year. Other major changes include accessible student lounging and study space in the lobbies of Renaissance Park, International Village, and Ryder, Hastings, and Shillman Halls. Additional changes are expected throughout the semester, says Berg.
“The goal is to brighten it up, make it inviting, and give it a refresh for these students who are coming back to campus after a tumultuous time,” says Berg.
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