Possible Social Space High Priority for Student Life


Photo courtesy of Gettysburgian.com

Jules Struck ’19, Co-Editor-in-Chief

A Social Space Task Force is working to finish a proposal by spring break for a new student social space on campus. 

“A student social space, or the lack thereof, has been an issue since [at least] 2014,” said Josh Eisenberg, assistant dean of Student Leadership and Campus Engagement, “and the college has constantly struggled to–and this is using students’ words–have a space that belongs to them and is like a hangout space.” 

The task force, which met for the first time last week, is made up of students, administrators and a Department of Public Safety (DPS) representative who are researching options for the student space. They have held focus groups with students and will travel to three other colleges with student social spaces to research options for Dickinson. 

“We want to get student ideas, go see what others are doing and try to find that combination that works,” said Eisenberg.

Students have lots of ideas, said Eisenberg, like having a pool table, pin-pong table, video games, air hockey, “things like that.” These ideas are just ideas so far, emphasized Eisenberg, but the point is clear: “It’s just a place you can stop by and hang out.” 

The task force will give their report to Vice President for Student life and Dean of Students George Stroud, who said the next steps have not yet been determined. Stroud said after he reviews the report with the social space task force “I would image that we’ll probably come up with a few different scenarios, and then we’ll present those to the community… it won’t be a decision that’s made in a vacuum.” Funding specifics have not yet been decided on, said Eisenberg. 

Eisenberg said the task force is considering options for food service, party registration and “the possibility of B.Y.O.B.,” or Bring Your Own Beer. “There could be scheduled programming in it, but that’s not the point of this space,” he said.

Student Senate Director of Campus Life and Initiatives Mary Hinton, who is on the task force, said Allison Hall has been discussed as one option for the social space. The task force is “seeing what we can do with the existing infrastructure that we currently have.” 

The task force aims to have the space “be more student-controlled than actually controlled or governed by the school itself,” said junior class senator Ah-Quell Ramirez, a student on the task force. 

Eisenberg said a social space is part of Dickinson’s strategic plan. “This is a campus-supported initiative,” he said.

“We’re trying to focus on creating new social spaces for students on campus to engage, who wouldn’t normally interact with each other on an everyday basis,” said Ramirez. “What I would like to see is meaningful conversations… and you would want to go there because you were expecting to interact with new people all the time,” he said.

The members of the task force are Eisenberg, Hinton, Ramirez, Director of Student Leadership & Campus Engagement Jessee Vasold, DPS Corporal John Haggerty, MOB Weekend Event Chair Elif Ersoy ’20, Ellie Scott ’22 and Paul Romaine ’22. 

“If people feel strongly about ‘this is what I think this space needs,’ they’re welcome to reach out to us,” said Eisenberg.