While many students and professors spent their summer break at home or traveling, Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Dean of Students Jas Verem and Campus Provost Peter Woolley collaborated on various campus-wide improvements, including new student identification cards, a renovated eatery and a more student-friendly pub, to name a few.
These changes range from small projects such as paint in the Student Center and new outdoor benches to larger projects like landscaping and clearing shrubs around the Recreation Center and Twombly halls to “clean things up and have the campus pop,” said Verem.
Yet one of the largest projects was gutting the bathrooms in buildings one and two and installing new air conditioning in the Village. In addition, buildings one through seven got new windows, both for safety reasons and because the previous windows did not retain heat or cold well.
Furthermore, metal cots once in these buildings have been replaced.
Although these residences were originally meant to be temporary, Verem would argue that “they just needed some nice TLC.”
In the summer of 2014, buildings three and four will also be getting new bathrooms, with five and six the following summer, and so on.
In addition, all kitchens in the Village will be removed because there is no ventilation and they are not up to fire code safety. This will allow for larger laundry facilities.
“The Village is a top priority because they aren’t exactly a desired place to live the way they are now,” said Verem.
Every year, the University looks to make improvements, which depend on cost, impact and ease of completion.
For example, something like the new tile floor in the Student Center, which was completed this summer, is easily done, yet has high impact because of the amount of traffic through the building.
Kevin Kotsak, a senior double majoring in Political Science and Sociology, said, “I believe this school has improved upon itself since I was a freshman. The events are better and the campus’s appearance is far better than what it used to be. This is a positive sign considering these changes occurred in only a few years.”
However, although the cosmetic changes have been positive, Verem said there have been mixed reviews about the newly implemented student ID cards in terms of their design and their uses.
Verem said that this update was to give students more options like using it as a debit card or, for example, receiving refund checks. “Rather than waiting a week or so to receive the paper check, it will be refunded to your card right away.”
Yet this is all a work in progress. The debit aspect of the card with US Bank is not yet implemented.
Even still, Kotsak likes the idea of the new cards, saying, “It’s great we will be able to use them anywhere.”
One change that freshmen can be happy about came in the form of 100 new parking spots in the far lot by Park Ave., which are marked in blue.
Previously, freshmen could not have cars except under special circumstances, but after many complaints, it was decided that this would be positive for students already enrolled as well as for future recruitment. The parking spots cost $200 per semester and work on a first-come-first-served basis.
As for the upperclassmen, many are confused that their schedules now say ZEN instead of NAB. Many Becton College students have their classes in the Stadler, Zenner, Hoffmann-La Roche academic building, which saw its first classes in 1998, making it obvious as to why it is no longer being referred to as the New Academic Building.
Originally this abbreviation was used so that Datatel, the program that lists classes online, could create students’ schedules. At the time, no one knew how to properly abbreviate the building’s lengthy name.
In addition, on Friday, Sept. 6, new furniture arrived for the pub and the newly renovated Nathan’s, which will no longer go by that name.
The reason for the new floors, paint and furniture in the Bottle Hill Pub is to allow students to use it as a lounge during the day and a pub by night.
In the past, the Bottle Hill Pub was largely unoccupied except for when events were held there, so the idea is, by having the doors open, “rather than lights out, dark, and sitting unused, that it will be more utilized by students (not just those 21 and over). Hopefully that works,” said Verem.
As for Nathan’s, its previous menu is being exchanged for healthier options like sandwiches and salads.
Contrary to the rumor that it was going to be Chipotle or something similar, it will be a new eatery with a working title of “Leaf and Grains.” There will be a campus-wide contest for students to choose the official name.
Finally, with wireless Internet in the process of completion, FDU’s College at Florham campus is modernizing itself, making it a more enjoyable (and more attractive) place to go to school. Rutherford and Park Ave.’s wireless Internet is already complete, with that of the Twomblys to be finished this week, followed by the Village.
“It’s a beautiful campus ... We try to do things to enhance that,” said Verem.
Some improvements to look for in the near future include the Black Box Theater, two smart technology classrooms in the ZEN building and ongoing major renovations in the science labs.