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Old 12-14-2007, 06:13 PM
Yasin B. Abbak
Posts: n/a
Default Inviting all Administrators, Faculty & Students: Sem Hall/Cyber Cafe - do you care?

I would like to open up an open forum, constructive discussion regarding the proposed renovations to Seminary Hall. My hopes are to involve all relevant and interested members of the University, including faculty, staff and students of all schools so that a healthy dialogue of expression can be enjoyed by and between all members of our community.

If you are familiar with the situation please post unbiased, factual information so that the community can better understand the situation. Please feel free to also express your personal opinions, but remember to clearly separate them from the facts.

Hopefully this will paint a clearer picture for you and me by hearing all perspectives. If this works, I hope the community as a whole will continue to engage in these types of discussions that have the potential of fostering a stronger sense of community and open communications between all.

-Yasin Abbak
CLA 09
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Old 12-15-2007, 11:40 AM
Jennifer T. Tiernan-Bindler Jennifer T. Tiernan-Bindler is offline
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 10
Default Cyber cafe

First of all thank you Yasin for starting this off...

The current plan to renovate the basement of seminary hall is at least 5 years old. That means it pre-dates the current students of the Theo school who really didn't know that the cyber cafe was slated for destruction until the plans appeared in the basement not too long ago.

Itís brought up a lot of issues within the TSA about the cyber cafe, the position of the Theo school in the larger Drew community and how the seminary community can address these concerns and issues. One thing most of us seem to agree on is that spaces that foster a community atmosphere are vital to the life of the seminary community. Many of the students in the Theo school are preparing for full time ministry, creating community is vital to our education and honestly to our sanity.

My personal feeling is that renovations are creating a more homogenous, institutional feel to seminary hall. Someone from the class of 04 stopped by to say hi to me and said she was even aghast at the atrium.. She shrugged and said, "I guess if it was like this the whole time you were here you wouldn't care, but this place feels colder". I think that sums up my concerns for future generations of Seminarians... a Cold institution that is just something they need to tick off on their way to ordination VS a vital community that nurtures and forms ministers.. Which would you choose for yourself? Which would you want YOUR pastor to be a product of?

Theo 1st year TSA rep.
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Old 12-16-2007, 10:52 AM
Susan MacDonnell
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Default Cyber and Atrium

I too am happy that this has surfaced as a concern, and while the reaction apparently took administrators by surprise, if the plans haven't been revisisted in any public way since five years back, this is clearly not a good way to "announce" something as a fait accompli.
I use Cyber Cafe a lot, and I feel there has to remain such a space for everyone, not just students, to interact day to day. Faculty, staff and administrators use the cafe as well, and this is an important way for all of us to meet as "people on our paths"! While I am absolutely in favor of updating the furnishings, getting rid of the bulky booths, etc and making it more amenable to sharing and commuing, the current plans are totally inadequate.
I also use the Atrium a lot, but onec it is winter, or an off-season blustery day, it isn't a user-friendly space. Because of the walk thru aspect east to west, much of the space is not permanently useable since it must be clear for passage. If there aren't any plans to better winterize the entrances permanently, then at least there could be some sort of portable "second-door" entranceway attached to each side to cut down on the wind blowing into the room. The type you see on construction sites but a little better looking!
I hope that all possibilities of how to best use space for staff, faculty and administration have been explored. It seems to me some have overly large offices that could be split? I know that tenure and other things come into this, and I don't dismiss them, but as best possible, but I'm sure there are at least three or four options in the building for office spaces that could be shared?
Having been a supervisor and "agency safety go-to" for years and having gone through all kinds of office space changes where it is the office/line staff is usually left with the short end of the stick, I think the first place to start is to be sure that theyhave the space they need, set up in a user-friendly, and ergonomically safe way so that their jobs are doable--given all the demands that are placed on them so admin and faculty can do their jobs and students get their needs met.
Still and all, looking at everyone's priorities, we have to keep in mind that Seminarians need a place to work, relax, interact during the rare times they have to spend doing so between classes and other demands.
That's all! Happy holidays to everyone!
Susan M

Last edited by Susan MacDonnell : 12-16-2007 at 02:57 PM.
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Old 12-16-2007, 02:38 PM
Dara L. Goldberg
Posts: n/a
Default I love that little Cafe! :)

While I know it may come a shock, undergraduate students also take advantage of the beautiful Seminary Hall. When the Library closes at 2am during the week or 7pm on the weekends, the next best option is Seminary Hall. In the winter when it is much to cold to sit upstairs, the quiet, warm, and inviting cafe is a great place to continue studying and working.

The last time I was down in that studying sanctuary, a friend of mine pointed to a sign hanging nearby and said "they're rennovating and they're taking out the cyber cafe." That is when I saw the plans for the first time and I have to admit, I was shocked and upset. I think it's a terrible idea, personally.

My questions to theo students and the administration are: Were the theological students asked to weigh in on this issue? Was the role of Seminary Hall in the community at Drew considered or investigated? What will be the purpose of all these offices? Where would you like the students who take advantage of this little studying secret of Drew University to go once the cyber cafe (and basically the entire downstairs of Seminary Hall) is destroyed?

I hope someone can answer these questions,
Dara Goldberg
CLA '09

Last edited by Dara L. Goldberg : 12-16-2007 at 02:41 PM.
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Old 01-06-2008, 12:34 PM
Elizabeth A. Pullen
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Default Cyber Cafe

Where do plans stand at this point?
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