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New language center opens

Laura McCrystal | Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Upon entering the new Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures (CSLC), it is common to hear students holding conversations in at least three different foreign languages.

The CSLC, located on the third floor of DeBartolo Hall, opened last month. The center promotes foreign language study though an emphasis on community and interaction, said Lance Askildson, the director of the CSLC.

“We’re still in a stage of development,” he said. “We’re here to develop a community of foreign language learners.”

The CSLC’s opening marked the end of a three-year planning process. After the Language Resource Center (LRC) in O’Shaughnessy Hall closed with the unexpected death of its director, Ursula Williams, the University formed a committee to explore options for a new language center, Askildson said.

Current programming offered by the CSLC includes peer tutoring in the Romance Languages, languages tables and social events. Askildson plans to expand these programs to include more languages.

The CSLC’s a main lounge features couches and open booths to promote interaction and foreign language discussion. Askildson said that the lounge area fills up during the day with students who come to study and converse in various languages.

The CSLC’s multimedia room offers foreign language television and film viewing and serves as a conference room. Future plans for this room include HD streaming video communication with students in Notre Dame’s foreign language study abroad programs, Askildson said.

A third room in the CSLC can be a classroom or club meeting space. Foreign language groups can reserve the space, Askildson said, such as the Japanese club, which hosted a karaoke night in the space on Friday.

While the CSLC is an inviting study space, it is only available for foreign language students.

“We are making a very conscious effort to reserve this space for foreign language study,” Askildson said.

Askildson said the number of students who have made use of the CSLC in the past month is encouraging.

“We invite all foreign language students to come in and learn about our services,” he said. “I think it’s going extremely well.”

Askildson said that while the center receives frequent input from foreign language faculty members, he hopes that students who use the CSLC will also begin to offer constructive criticism.