College Union joins Department of Student Life

The MacVittie College Union underwent several changes this summer, many of which were implemented within the last week. Most notable among these is the Union’s transition from the Department of College Activities to the Department of Student Life.

“Basically, what we’re looking at are ways to catalogue how … what we do in student life supports the academic endeavors and deepens the learning experience for [students],” Director of Student Life Chip Matthews said. “We do much more than [college] activities. We’re involved in the educational experience for students.”

According to its mission statement, the Department of Student Life aims “to provide and to identify opportunities for students that result in increased learning, greater self-awareness and a clearer sense of purpose.” It also aims to “catalogue, promote, assess and strengthen student learning opportunities within Student and Campus Life that contribute to a rich, meaningful, and fulfilling college experience for Geneseo students.”

Matthews said he hopes the transition will greatly benefit students in terms of life beyond graduation.

“Being able to articulate how the student experience complemented the academic experience, I think, would be a very valuable thing for a student to be able to talk with to a potential employer,” Matthews said.

On a smaller scale, the Union has also undergone minor renovations in the Hunt Room, and lockers were removed from a quiet study space across from the Multicultural Organization Space for Activities, Inclusion and Collaboration.

Students may have taken notice of a new statue in the Union Lobby, which was purchased from senior Julia Andalora, who debuted the piece at last year’s Senior Art Show. Matthews said he hopes to relocate the sculpture, entitled “Rise From,” to a more permanent location in the near future.

“It’ll probably go above the [main] doorway that has nothing on it,” Matthews said, “So we’ll have the Banana Man, the Ribcage and then ‘Rise From.’”

The Union staff was also responsible for several Weeks of Welcome festivities, including the fireworks show on Aug. 25. They also implemented the Geneseo Greeters, who stood around campus greeting students on the first two days of class.

“We’re always trying to keep things fresh and new,” Matthews said.

The Union staff also expanded, with Coordinator of Late Night Programs and Activities Lauren Thompson and Coordinator of Student Programs and Activities Tiffany Brodner joining the team.

Brodner, who previously worked as a Residence Director in Onondaga Hall, accepted the job on June 6.

“Student activities and working in the Union is where my passion has been since graduate school,” Brodner said. “When this job became available, it gave me the opportunity to get back into the Union.”

Brodner said her main goal is to maintain a “good rapport with student organizations,” and she also hopes to organize several new upstate-bound trips for students.

“The summer was extremely quiet,” Brodner said. “I’m [excited] that the summer’s over, that the students are back and that the Union is alive again.”υ