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Hammer Lab's summer makeover

By Tej Jai (Special to the Chronicle) Stanford S. Hammer Lab has a new makeover this year.

The Hofstra administration decided that it was necessary to modernize the lab and make it more welcoming and comfortable for students to use. The new lab opened for students earlier this summer on Aug. 2, after nine years of being untouched.

Hammer Lab has been updated with several more Apple computers, whiteboards, convenient outlets, easier access to the inner room, couches and cushions.

Judith Tabron, director of Faculty and Student Computing Services, said that the decision to renovate the lab came after she noticed several commuter students studying in their cars.

“We wanted students to have study space and be comfortable,” Tabron said.

Tabron believes that the new atmosphere of Hammer Lab will encourage more students to come onto campus, have healthy interactions with others and engage in collaborative learning.

However, not all students reacted favorably to the lab.

Saju Samuel, a junior computer science major, dislikes the open door between two rooms in the lab and believes they should be separated.

“The inner room should be kept closed so that people inside can have a quieter area to study,” said Samuel.

He would prefer to see an environment where the outer room of the lab would have a more social, group study environment, while the inner room would be a quieter area focused on individual study. Samuel believes this setup benefits Hammer Lab more than the current setup.

Rashad Tar, a graduate student, felt similarly, saying that increased separation is enough to improve his Hammer Lab studying experience. Tar viewed Hammer Lab as a place where he could really buckle down and study in isolation before big tests like midterms and finals.

“They’ve reduced the amount of computers there. That place is going to be packed and it’s going to be hard to get studying done,” Tar said. “It’s more aesthetically pleasing, but that’s not more conducive to getting work or studying done.”

However, Tar believes that the aesthetics and comfort do not work in favor of the student and that making the area too comfortable will reduce overall productivity, creating unfavorable conditions for students.

“Have you ever tried reading a textbook on a sofa? You’re going to fall asleep. Good place to nap, bad place to study,” said Tar.

Despite these criticisms, some students, like Melissa Slyper, a sophomore chemistry major, supported the changes.

Slyper affirmed Tabron’s vision of making the lab a more comfortable place.

“It is a more welcoming place to sit and study,” Slyper said

Malcome Fein, a junior, also believes that the new environment fosters creativity and that group interaction is essential to the intellectual growth and development of each student.

“It creates this unconventional study environment which would help people to collaborate and result in more creativity,” Fein.

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