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Spes Unica receives positive reviews

Mandi Stirone | Friday, October 31, 2008

Saint Mary’s new academic building, Spes Unica Hall, which was dedicated in a ceremony yesterday, has already drawn positive reviews from students and professors.

Spes Unica houses 13 of 20 academic departments and the Center for Academic Innovation, the Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership (CWIL) and the Center for Spirituality. There are also department labs which offer resources to students, study rooms, a café, lounge areas and wireless internet.

Senior Katie Putz said the new building provides a big upgrade for the Saint Mary’s campus.

“It’s very functional,” she said. “Quite a change from Madaleva [Hall].”

One thing that Putz said sticks out to her is the organization of the departments in the building.

“You don’t have to go from the basement to the third floor [to get to professors’ offices] everyone’s centralized,” she said.

Senior Deanna Molosky also approved of the new building, adding the new artwork really added a lot to the building.

“It represents Saint Mary’s in that every office has a place,” she said. “There is a lot of Holy Cross representation and Christian art.”

Pam Blair, an administrative assistant for CWIL, enjoys the centrality of her department in Spes Unica.

“It’s nice that we as a center are all together,” she said, “Before we were separated.”

The “cooperate” feel of the building is the only thing that bothers Professor Amanda Littauer, Assistant Professor of History and Woman’s Studies.

“It’s a little hard because the furniture and fabrics are pretty standardized,” she said.

However the technology and the large amount of space available to both faculty and students is especially beneficial, she said.

She pointed out the new resource room for the Women’s Studies department located on the second floor. It’s equipped with a computer, books, fliers and even movies to create a “community space” for students, she said.

Professor Frances Bernard Kominkiewicz, director of the Social Work program, was very enthusiastic about the new space.

“We’ve been just really blessed to have a building like this,” she said. “In Social Work the students are energized and have stated to me that they believe their learning needs have been more than met.”

The social work department in another department with a lab, she said. In that lab, she explained, students are learning interview skills. This “makes a great world of difference,” she said.

“I rarely leave now until six or seven,” Kominkiewicz said, “I love this building that much.”

Chair of the sociology department, professor Susan Alexander’s favorite part of the building is her new office.

“I was in the lower level of Madaleva so I was without a window for 17 years,” she said.

She is also a big fan of the new technology available to both students and teachers, she said. The only problem she has encountered are students sitting in the far corner of a classroom whose view of the projection screen is partially blocked by the podium provided for the computers, she said.

Her department has two labs, one is a statistics lab, equipped with computers and other aids, and the other is more spacious. It has more equipment for students to use including computers and a large flat-screen television. The labs are Alexander’s favorite part of Spes Unica.

“This is my 17th year here and it’s the first time I’ve had space to do research, so I’m very happy with the labs,” she said.