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Ratt renovations back on the table

By Stephanie KostopoulosStaff Writer

Rathskellar may get renovations

Quick renovations are being made around campus in the wake of the coming presidential debate, but one space in the Student Center remains fairly unchanged. It is the space called the Rathskellar, and the question even before current debate preparations waswhat to do with it. Known as “The Rat” for short, the Rathskellar is located underneath the Student Center between the game room and the Greenhouse. It is a place for students to eat, socialize and do homework, but traditionally has been a popular hang out for Greek life. The banners and logos of fraternities and sororities are engraved on the table posts and written on seats. It gets heavily used during “Greek Week” for meetings and New Member Education, where pledges learn about the organizations. Not only is the Rathskellar functional, it’s fun. This is a place where students involved in Greek life get to socialize and intermingle. Daniela Visceglie, a junior from Alpha Phi, has many memories at the Rathskellar. “It’s where I learned everything I know about my organization and where I met some of my best friends at school. And I’m not just speaking for myself, I’m speaking for everyone in Greek life when I say that,” she said. Visceglie joined in the spring of her freshman year and wants Student Affairs to remake the room. “It’s about time because it’s a great place to hang out. It will attract more people and integrate non-Greeks and Greeks. It will include everyone, not just organizations represented down there,” said Viseglie. Although Greek life makes up a large portion of Hofstra’s student population, there are plenty of students who are not involved in it. Since the Rathskellar is home to Greek life, many non-Greek students refrain from using it.  James Sabatino, a junior resident assistant, did not join a fraternity. He has eaten at the Rathskellar only when invited by Greek friends. He believes that with a new look and more dining space, the Rathskellar could attract more people. According to Sabatino, renovations would also erase any lines between non-Greek and Greek students. “We’re all Hofstra students. This would be unifying,” said Sabatino. Renovations for the Rathskellar have been discussed in the past and actually took the backseat to the remaking of Hofstra USA, which won an overwhelming 95 percent of student approval on a survey conducted about two years ago. After the presidential debate, a group of students will convene to discuss renovations way all the focus will be directed that way. Peter J. Libman, the Dean of Students, said that a new space could meet the needs for all students, including those outside Greek life. He wants to find a way to make the space versatile and multifunctional. “Whatever we do with renovations, it will be a space for all students.  We wouldn’t build for just one group, we’ll make it accessible for all and we’ll keep in mind the Greek tradition,” said Libman. According to the Dean of Students, a new Rathskellar would be “a tremendous addition to the quality of life by providing another venue for students to hangout, relax, chill out, and meet the needs of a variety of student groups on campus.” Libman is exploring the possibility of putting an actual Starbucks store in this area, and not just the brewed coffee like other areas on campus. He said the overall goals of the renovation are “to see a place where students can be excited about and utilize” and “bring all the students together.” Libman believes renovations can begin this summer and possibly be ready by the fall of 2013. Mario Bolanos, assistant director of OSLA’s Greek Life, believes the success of the Rathskellar depends on how it is renovated, not whether or not the renovations go through. He says that maybe more chargers, better Wi-Fi and more food options will help it. “I don’t think the Rat will make or break Greek life,” said Bolanos. “It’s all about how they contribute to Hofstra off campus and to the community.”

With additional reporting by Georgina Kostopoulos

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