For those of you that may not know, we currently have enough room for about 4% of student organizations to have their own office on campus. 4% out of about 1400. As a result of the limited number of offices that can be distributed, many student organizations that missed out on getting their own office feel disconnected from the university or that they simply don’t have the resources to function as a student organization. As part of our Union renovation, we aim to make sure that all student organizations feel equally valued, as well as make student organization resources readily available. Our way of accomplishing this goal is to create a new space designed solely for student orgs in our Union renovation called the IdeaHub. The main idea for the space is to be a place where student org members of ANY org have a place where they can conduct student org business, while also being a place where students seeking a community can find student orgs that they may be interested in. While we had a very solid idea for this space, we still only knew the IdeaHub as a concept. To see a space similar to what we pictured for the IdeaHub, we headed to the University of Maryland to see the newly renovated Student Involvement Suite.
When we arrived on the Terrapin's campus, we immediately headed to the Adele H. Stamp Student Union where we spent our day collaborating with Maryland staff and getting inspired by the Student Involvement Suite. The space was vibrant and fresh looking- bright red feature walls, modern looking furniture that invited collaboration between students, meeting rooms filled with new technology that made it easy to share, display and collaborate on ideas for student organizations. There was a resource room with printers, office supplies and a place for students to make necessary items for their student organizations. The greatest feature of this space was that it could all be rented by student organizations first come, first serve. There was no student org that was prioritized over another. They all had the same resources and it was up to the student org whether or not to take advantage of them. It was a space in which I could see myself having a meeting with students for my organization, where I felt comfortable voicing my opinion and encouraged to use the resources.
Seeing the Student Involvement space at the University of Maryland was necessary for me to understand exactly what we are trying to go for with our new space. And let me tell you, it is going to be awesome. The IdeaHub will have an open office plan, which will invite collaboration between not only members within a student org, but also between multiple different student orgs. It will have the student staff at CCI at the front desk, being readily available to assist with any questions that student org members may have. It is going to be a space where new students can find their community on campus. It is going to be a modern and updated place where student organizations can receive the support they need to have a long lasting impact on the University of Michigan’s campus. I am excited that the Union will finally have a place that is completely dedicated to student orgs and their success, since in the past they seem like they may have not been as prioritized as other departments on campus. I am honored to be part of the creation of this space, and truly believe that the IdeaHub will be a place where student org ideas can come to life.