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Observer Editorial: A slam Dunc of a student center

| Friday, January 26, 2018

The outlets — my goodness, the sheer number of outlets alone.

Walking into the brand new Duncan Student Center for the first time feels like unwrapping a gift that keeps on giving. After multiple semesters of watching the gargantuan “Campus Crossroads” project take shape, we can finally bask in all the planning and hard work the University administration has put in to deliver us, the students of Notre Dame, a top-of-the-line student center.

As an Editorial Board, we each have our own favorite parts in the new facility, and we are sure it will be a positive fixture on campus for years to come. However, we would also like to contribute some suggestions that we believe will help capitalize on the building’s potential for future classes of students.

One of the most highly anticipated features was the promise of three new eateries; now that they have arrived, students have been largely impressed. Star Ginger Asian Grill and Noodle Bar, Modern Market and Hagerty Family Cafe offer a diverse and healthy new set of dining options. These new restaurants represent wonderful additions to the previously limited number of options outside of the dining hall, especially given its convenient location for anyone looking for a quick bite between classes.

However, one issue we have noticed is the cafe’s early 7 p.m. closing time on weeknights may hinder long periods of study, especially with the impending closing of Reckers — which was at one time the University’s only 24-hour eatery before even it reduced its hours. The reality is that many students depend on an evening snack or the dreaded 11 p.m. caffeine kick, and not having a source for that cup of coffee after 7 p.m. makes the space less conducive to productive studying. Changing the cafe into a late-night dining location could foster community and ensure an even greater student experience.

We have also been quick to note how helpful and open the new recreational sports facilities are to student life, as they provide the community with access to a number of new workout options in a high-tech, mixed-use facility. This artful design permeates throughout much of the student center, creating an environment that is both modern and fresh.

Yet, the design of the student center goes far beyond the aesthetics. Thanks in part to the many windows, walking through the student center feels like getting a bite-sized tour of campus. On the second floor alone, one can observe the inside of four different radio studios, a television studio, a graduate student lounge, a rock-climbing wall and an array of distinct study spot options.

Additionally, the campus groups now located in the student center have generally benefited from the state-of-the-art facilities. WVFI, Notre Dame’s student-run radio station, now has an improved studio with much needed equipment upgrades. Notre Dame’s student-run television station, NDtv, also has an impressive master control room in its new space. And both groups now enjoy studios more visible to the community as well.

While the decor of the student center is generally marvelous, allowing students to express themselves and advertise events via posters and signage could help make the student center feel more connected to the rest of campus. and it would only take a few bulletin boards. Given the new facility was built for the students of Notre Dame, then allowing those very beneficiaries to advertise events and causes they are passionate about would more fully achieve that ambition.

Despite these minor issues, however, the future of Notre Dame and its brand new student center is bright, and that’s not just a product of all its new outlets — though they certainly help.

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