Since the closing of beloved bagel eatery Higher Grounds in the HUB at the beginning of the fall semester, we’ve been anxiously awaiting details of the Student Engagement Space promised to take its place. What could possibly be better than an Irving’s bagel and a short coffee line?
The new Engagement Space, part of the Student Engagement Network, is essentially just what it sounds like — a physical location where students can explore different opportunities to engage outside the classroom based on their individual interests.
“We want an opportunity for students who aren’t that involved on campus to go in and discover their involvement,” UPUA Speaker Alex Shockley said.
Student Affairs is currently developing a technology interface where students will be able to input their interests and it will recommend relevant engagement opportunities, which could be anything from research to internships to specific student organizations. The Engagement Space will revolve around technology, from touch screens to light displays.
Despite staff charging full steam ahead in plans for the Student Engagement Network, the Engagement Space won’t actually open until winter 2018.
“Between now and then, there will be student interns and others in the space as we gather information from students through surveys, focus groups, and other activities,” Student Engagement Director Mike Zeman said. “Regardless of whether the space is open, the Student Engagement Network will always be available to all students online, and resources will be available both online and through training sessions on campus.”
The Engagement Space will also be staffed by interns trained to answer questions and direct visitors to the appropriate resources, and tools will be available online to help students prepare for visiting the space and to reflect on the experience.
“When students come to the Engagement Space for the first time after the grand opening, they can expect a new visual array of opportunities and connections that they can make to personalize their education experience while at Penn State,” Zeman said. “The Engagement Space in the HUB will serve as a communication tool for engaged and experiential learning across the broader spectrum of the university.”