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New Center for Student Collaboration aims to foster community

By Laurel O’Keefestaff writer

A mutual space that would allow student associations and Hofstra administration to cooperate on community initiatives was the vision behind the new Center for Student Collaboration, a grand opening for which was held on Nov. 30 in the repurposed office space in room 242 of the Student Center. “This is a great space and I hope that this can become a bigger space where it’s more utilized and where students know it is accessible to them and available,” said Alyson Guarino, SGA president and senior information systems and business analytics major. “I would love to just see it filled all the time with people between classes or whenever they just need a landing space,” Guarino said. The space also houses the Student Government Association (SGA), Resident Student Association (RSA), Inter-fraternity and Sorority Council (IFSC), University Senate and a new club sports office and interfaith prayer room. A pride print, tables and a smart board for student use is also available in the space. As mentioned by Dean of Students Sofia Pertuz, and Vice President for Student Affairs W. Houston Dougharty the space’s reputation has been misconstrued by students in the past as solely a destination for students to be reprimanded. “The very first day I was here at Hofstra, I was taking a tour with a tour guide and they walked me to the end of the hallway by the interfaith center and they said, ‘I think down there is the dean of student’s office but I’m not sure, I’ve never been in trouble,’” Dougharty said. “That was the point at which I thought, I’m not sure when and I’m not sure how but we will be shifting to the notion that this is a place where all students are welcome all the time.” Aside from changing the student perspective of the space and providing a space for students to comfortably work together, the office was designed to make it easier for student organizations to work on joint initiatives. “One of the things that we have to do at Hofstra, and that we’re charged with doing, is putting people in proximity to each other so that good ideas can happen,” said Dougharty. “This is about leadership, this is about collaboration and it’s about community. It does my heart good to see all of us together in this space.” SGA, the IFSC and RSA have already begun to utilize the valuable proximity the space allows by forming action plans and polling the community to better understand needs. “Proximity is everything, being able to knock on [another department’s] door and they’re right there; and there we are working together,” said Guarino. President Rabinowitz cut the ribbon to signify the official opening of the center and praised the development behind it. “This is such a brilliant idea, such a great idea that from now on I’m going to assume credit for it,” Rabinowitz joked. “But really, I feel so pleased about the relations between student organizations, and the relations between student organizations and administration.” “The space has literally allowed us to share ideas and even offices and it has really allowed us to combine our efforts,” said Guarino. “Together we can work toward a mission to cultivate community, provide resources and advocate for students across Hofstra University’s campus.” After learning about the new space, sophomore accounting major Kristine Nalundasan said, “I’ll definitely check it out. It seems like another good place for students to go work together.”

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