Increasing outreach opportunities with The Hub

Student Senate and the recreation department partner to create a new resource center for students

More stories from Rachyl Houterman


Photo by Sam Farley

Student Senators sit in The Hub, located next to the Marketplace in Davies Student Center, to be available for students who have ideas, questions or concerns.

If you’ve visited Davies Student Center recently, you may have noticed the popular sushi place, Sushi Do, has moved down the hall. In its place, stands a lounge-like room.

Simply put, this space is an outreach center, also known as “The Hub,” Student Body President Katy McGarry said. Student Senate and the Recreation and Sport Facilities partnered together over the summer to utilize the space.

The objective of the area, McGarry said, is to make information from numerous student affairs offices easily accessible for students. Student Senate and the recreation department are “the heads” of The Hub, McGarry said, but representatives in the area possess information from all student affairs offices.

McGarry said student senators serve their outreach hours in the The Hub to make Senate more easily available for students, since their office on the second floor of Davies is somewhat hidden away.

“I think our office, while a great space and we’re so lucky to have such a great space and big space in Davies Center, we’re not very visible and we’re not very accessible,” McGarry said. “That kind of walls off our space. So we wanted to make sure we’re really easy to find, somewhere that’s a central location and so we have senators mostly there all day throughout different times.”

Senator Cianna Swanson echoed McGarry’s thoughts, adding that in the Senate Office, it’s not easily discernable who is a student senator or just a staff member. Also, because the Senate Office is located within the Student Organization and Leadership Center, it’s difficult to make it known that Senate is located within that space, she said.

“So this actual room allows us to be closer to the kids who come into Davies, be more visible,” Swanson said. “Also, once it becomes more known that we are Student Senate, they can then easily talk to us rather than go up to that more intimidating, huge room where you don’t actually know who’s in Senate or who’s not.”

Senators can be found at The Hub at most times of the day, McGarry said, available to talk with students who come in.

“If you have an idea, a thought on campus, come bring it to the senators there,” McGarry said. “I really want it to be a place where you feel like you can get all your information or your questions answered. I feel like a lot of times students have a great ideas, questions or concerns, don’t know where to go and it kind of just stops.”

With this new space, McGarry said she feels Senate will be able to learn more from students, emphasizing The Hub as a resource center. In addition, McGarry said Senate will be looking to partner with other student affairs offices to plan events in The Hub.

Senators Paige Panzenhagen and Skyler Hanson said The Hub provides a more welcoming platform for students who want to talk with their representatives.

“It makes us more accessible to the students, and I think it’s less intimidating to just have an area where you can come in and talk,” Panzenhagen said.

“Talking with student senators can be really helpful even if we don’t know all the ins and outs,” Hanson said. “It’s easier to approach someone in here.”

The Hub also serves as a space for the recreation department, where students can come in to purchase gym memberships, recreation passes and even pay for Environmental Adventure Center trips instead of going to the office in Hilltop Center, said Emily Lemmens, the social media and marketing coordinator for the Recreation and Sports Facilities.

“We’ve definitely had I’d say at least 20 people come buy memberships down here already,” Lemmens said. “I don’t know that people know they can buy them down here, but you can also schedule massages down here (for example).”

The Hub will be getting some touch-ups soon, McGarry said. New furniture and decorations will be added to the area and blue paint will be applied to one wall to make the space more welcoming.

“It’s a work in progress right now, so it seems like there’s probably a lot of confusion of what this space is — we’re working on it,” McGarry said. “It’ll be kind of a work in progress all semester, but I hope they’ll bear with us and know that good things are coming.”