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Tour the Expanded Student Center
This article originally appeared in the Bentley Magazine.
When students spoke of feeling the pinch of administrative offices in their space, Andrew Shepardson didn’t just listen. The VP for student affairs and dean of students committed to collaborate and conceptualize a new model that would belong to them. “The results are what we envisioned: a student-centered space, designed with direct student input.”
Adds Nicole Chabot-Wieferich, director of student programs and engagement: “Students just find their space, and the building comes alive. We want it to be the place students can count on to build their community.”
Student organizations said “yay” to replacing individual offices with open space for creative collaboration. Light streams into a central area with conference tables to accommodate large groups. Smaller breakout rooms are equipped with multimedia resources and storage units.
The Bridge, a bright walkway to the third-floor Bubble, is furnished with couches and coffee tables that invite informal meetings among students and staff. One wall captures the student experience through the years with a pictorial retrospective on Flex the Falcon.
Housed in the new addition on the first floor, the Living Room has tables and comfy chairs suited for studying or hanging out. Pool and ping pong tables are big draws. There are five glass-enclosed study rooms, along with a NanaWall with removable glass panels, which opens up to the center’s outdoor patio. A double-sided indoor fireplace looks in to the Café.
The Living Room overlooks an outdoor patio lined with small tables and Adirondack chairs. The stone fire pit is perfect for kicking back and warming up.
Harry’s Pub enjoyed a facelift and remains a favorite gathering spot on Wednesday to Sunday nights, coming alive with Mein Bowl Chinese dishes and programming such as bingo, karaoke and trivia. During the day, students are welcome to bring in lunch, sit and study, or watch TV. But be warned, the aroma from the adjacent Mongolian Grill serving The 921 dining hall will make your stomach grumble.
Seasons dining hall has a new name—The 921—to honor Bentley’s original address on Boylston Street in Boston. Upgrades include new flooring, lighting, paint and furniture. The “wow” factor is a floor-to-ceiling mural of the building that housed Bentley until 1968. Another addition, MyZone, is a gluten-free, peanut-free area to serve students with food allergies and specific dietary needs.
Argo Tea offers coffee, tea, sandwiches, salads and breakfast items. The food is delicious, and frequent free samples are an added bonus.
The Cultural Lounge and Equity Center mark a gateway into Student Affairs administrative office space on the third floor. The Cultural Lounge is an extension of the Multicultural Center and Center for International Students and Scholars, while the Equity Center serves as a platform for social justice workshops, dialogues and programs.
The entrance to the office suite for Student Programs and Engagement (formerly Student Activities) features a glass wall with a stock ticker overlay — an image you can find throughout the building. The ticker offers a history lesson. It displays data from the day that Bentley moved from Boston to Waltham (1968) and the day of the Student Center renovation groundbreaking (2014).
Bentley was also named No. 1 for Highest Freshman Retention Rate, No. 3 for Most Innovative Schools and No. 4 for Best Undergraduate Teaching among the regional universities in the “2019 Best Colleges” report.