Space Race

Space Race

By Brooks Wallace

Gripes of jealousy are often heard from art majors passing the Ruggles building while architecture majors fight for space inside. Economics majors unwind in their department’s lab while nursing majors cluster over their small computer space.

With the current swap of space in the Curry Student Center, Northeastern students and faculty have questioned how the university divides resources among departments.

Junior fine arts major Blair St. Onge said the art department resources are limited and should be expanded.

“We have enough studios that are open all the time, and Mac labs are always open for graphic design majors, but it would be nice to have one more studio to create more space and lockers to keep our work,” she said.

These studios and Mac labs can be found on the third floor of Ryder Hall.

Middler graphic design major Alison Clancy said the space provided is sufficient but could improve.

“The space is really good, labs are usually open, not crowded and quiet,” she said. “We could use a studio that’s open 24 hours.”

Clancy also said the university could do more to provide art students with materials.

“We have a lot of supplies to buy and in college we are all broke so we don’t have money to buy [all the supplies],” she said.

Edwin Andrews, associate professor and acting chair of visual arts, said architecture majors do not have a bigger and better studio than art majors, it just looks that way.

“Our space is just dedicated to four computer labs, three classrooms and one large darkroom on the second floor of Shillman Hall, which are spread out on campus, unlike the architecture studio,” Andrews said. “We probably even have more space than architecture, but people don’t see it every day like Ruggles.”

As far as expanding the art department’s resources, Andrews said he would like to see lockers for students to store their work.

“Ever since 1990, I’ve been hearing about lockers,” he said. “Now that I am chair, I will work harder for them because students really need them.”

Leah Neubeck, a freshman architecture major, said she knows how lucky the architecture department is to have the workspace in Ruggles. There is a scanning center for pictures for student portfolios, critique rooms where students can hang their work and receive feedback from professors and an amphitheatre where a professional architect comes to speak every week, Neubeck said.

Although Neubeck appreciates the expansive facilities, she said there are drawbacks.

“The studio is always crowded and it’s hard to keep the workspace neat because people are careless in there,” she said.

Nonetheless, Neubeck said Northeastern’s architecture resources are above average.

Economics majors also feel they have been given a generous portion of the school’s resources.

Steven Morrison, professor and chair of economics, said the department’s lab, in Lake Hall, is equipped with a refrigerator, couches and computers. Students go there both to get work done and unwind.

Morrison said students also have a conference room in Lake Hall where the undergraduate economics student club meets.

Despite his satisfaction with the department’s resources, Morrison said it would be nice to have money for student field trips. But that does not necessarily mean students use the lab regularly.

“I was not aware of the lab and I don’t think any of the other economics majors I know are aware of this,” said Daniel Gilroy, a sophomore economics major. “Now I feel like I should go to the department to use this and also use this as time to study more for my economics courses, and I think other students would agree.”

The College of Engineering is another department that provides ample space and resources for its students in the Snell Engineering building, said Peter Furth, professor and chair of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department.

Furth credits former Dean Allen Soyster with the space and resources engineering majors have today.

“All engineering departments have at least one lab students can use, as well as three computer classrooms, a conference room and a big lab in the basement for student projects,” Furth said.

According to Furth, the basement lab is strictly for students to conduct extra curricular projects.

Furth said engineering students often make projects for competitions and are provided lockers to hold their supplies and workspaces to create the vehicles. A design studio with 19 computers and a conference room is also available to engineering students, he said. All of these spaces are located in the Snell Engineering building.

Unequal spaces

Unlike architecture and engineering majors, some students in other concentrations said their departments lack resources.

Keziah Furth, a junior nursing major, said lack of resources is a major weakness of the nursing department.

“Our biggest pet peeve is that we don’t have a computer lab so we have to trek from Behrakis to the library to print, which is inconvenient,” she said.

There are three computer stations in Behrakis for nursing students, but pharmacy students usually occupy them and there are no printing stations, Furth said.

“Our faculty offices are in the Robinson building, and all our classes are in Behrakis, so it’s a pain if you want to meet with a professor,” she said.

Furth said adding more office space for professors in Behrakis would be helpful.

Clinical spaces though are adequate.

“We’re pretty much all set for clinicals,” she said. “We have labs on the fourth floor of Behrakis which we can practice in our first and second years.”

Sophomore journalism major Emilee Ellison thinks the journalism department could use more resources as well.

“There are only two computer classrooms for us to use, and I feel like we don’t even have enough computers for our classes,” Ellison said. “If we had one computer lab that was always open, we could create a newsroom environment with phones for interviews and actually get good reporting experience on campus instead of waiting for co-op.”

The journalism computer labs are located on the first floor of Holmes Hall.

The math department on the fifth floor of Nightingale Hall could use more space as well, said Robert McOwen, professor and chair of the math department.

“We have a computer lab with 24 computers, a conference room for seminars and a small office for the math club, but space is always an issue,” McOwen said.

Sophomore mathematics major Kirk Boyer said he feels the space and resources provided are enough for the mathematics department since it does not take much more than “a pencil and paper or chalk and chalkboard” to study.

However, there are an increasing number of math majors, so space will continue to pose problems in the years to come, McOwen said.

Comparing resources

Students who transfer to Northeastern are also able to compare their major’s resources to those at other colleges and universities.

Whitney Sisto, a transfer sophomore speech pathology major, said she is impressed with the speech department at Northeastern.

“I’m very happy with the program here,” she said. “At my old school we had to go to another school to take speech classes, which is why I left. Here we have a clinic at Behrakis to observe clients who come in for therapy, and a program at White Hall to work with preschoolers.”

Sisto said speech pathology majors also have a space in Behrakis where they can observe therapy sessions and an area where they can watch TV or movies.

However, Sisto noted an area she would like to see Northeastern improve upon.

“I have noticed that this campus needs more random computer labs for students like the new West F building has,” she said.

Satisfying spaces

Some students and faculty are content with the resources and space provided for them.

Junior marketing and finance major Arthur Krasnopolsky said he is satisfied with the assets the business administration department provides its students.

“We have a few computer labs in Dodge, and our classrooms are sort of designed as conference rooms, which is nice,” he said. “I believe our business school has a good amount of money to work with, so we have great resources.”

Few complaints are held by the African-American studies department, said Robert Hall, associate professor and acting chair of the department.

Students have a conference room with a small library and a video collection donated by a former instructor. The room is equipped with projector materials so students can use the resources on their own time, Hall said.

However, there are no specific classrooms for African-American studies and there is always a struggle to fit classes in appropriate and available space, he said.

Lack of space will always be an issue for an urban campus like Northeastern, Hall said.

Although the university will continue to have issues with distributing available resources and space, it is an issue that should be dealt with.

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