Since midway through the fall 2013 semester, the major topic of discussion at AMC has been the new Information Commons, which is located in the space that used to house the upper level of the Mondor-Eagen Library. The traditional library setting is now located on the lower level with new electronic book stacks for the college's literary collection. The new student-oriented environment on the upper level offers computer stations for online research and group work, Information Technology Services (also known as the "IT Department"), The Center for Teaching Excellence where students and professors can interact outside of the classroom, The MIDI Lab for music majors, a Graphic Design lab, and The School of Business (classrooms and professional offices). The Information Commons also attracts students and faculty with the warmth of its color scheme, as well as the wonderful working fireplace that will really come in handy during those cold winter days and nights.
Personally, I consider The Information Commons one of my favorite places on campus whether it is to get research done, attend my business classes or just to relax my mind in a peaceful setting. This area is a lounge, research and learning environment all in one: How can you beat that?
My typical time spent in The Information Commons is to do research papers, work on new internship ideas, plan for meetings and events, work on group projects and study with classmates. Since The Information Commons was created, I find myself utilizing this spot much more than I could ever imagine. Out of the many things I like about this space, what I love the most are the tables set up for study groups not far away from the computers. This new space is definitely a great asset on campus. The hours of availability (24/7) are amazing especially for students like me who have schedules that are not flexible and who can mainly get their work done only during late hours. Even the fact that the School of Business is located in the Information Commons amazes me. The professors and the Dean of The School of Business, Dean Forsberg, are located right across from the business classrooms, which is very convenient for students in the business program, as well as the faculty. I feel very important when entering such a vibrant environment that has the academic school in which I will be receiving my degree from represented. My overall description of this new environment would be inclusive, warm, helpful, and modern because of the colors, carpet patterns, fireplace and updated resources.
To give you a little more insight into The Information Commons, I sat down with President Calareso to get his take on the new space. When I asked him how Anna Maria College was able to have this project completed, he informed me that it was all about timing, resources and student demand. He went on to tell me that about a year ago the school secured enough money to bring a project that just started out as verbal and written ideas to life. Also, it took meetings with students who discussed their various needs and concerns about a new learning environment; and that is how the concept came about.
Anna Maria College breathed life into the idea of The Information Commons to create an opportunity and a modern resource for students to learn, hang out and study outside of the residence halls. This space was created with the intention that students would use it to help them excel in and outside of the classroom. President Calareso also informed me that very little changes would be made to The Information Commons besides the art that will soon be hung and any upkeep that might need to be made throughout the course of the year. The next big project that Anna Maria College plans to work on is the campus center. For more details on that upcoming project, you have to look out for future posts under Debb's Review.