Lake Hall renovations to reflect EXCEL program’s goals


Photo by Coty Giannelli.

Ryan Lewis

Lake Hall and the EXCEL program are teaming up to create a positive, goal-orientated atmosphere this fall.

John White, associate director for administrative operations, Department of Residence Services, is in the process of renovating the first floor lobby of Lake Hall to mirror the goals of the EXCEL program. EXCEL assists undergraduate students who have not yet selected a particular major but are enrolled in classes at Kent State University.

New paint, some new furniture and a splash of graphics are giving the lobby in Lake Hall a new look, all in an effort to promote an inviting atmosphere as students seek out respective majors and career paths.

“One of the things we wanted to do was to enable students to look at Lake in a more positive light and as a more fun place, more energetic,” White said. “[EXCEL] picked the colors, and I selected some furniture, and we went back and forth with EXCEL and made some additional changes. I wanted to make sure that whatever I was doing was complimenting what they were doing while also being useful to residents.”

The Explore, Careers, Education, Leadership had 75 students enrolled in the program last year. Through the expansion to a complete Living Learning Community, that number is increasing to 241 students in the upcoming fall semester, said Pamela Jones, academic program and student development coordinator for Undergraduate Studies.

Jones said creating a Living Learning Community that brings students together was especially important not only to freshmen, but because all students are burdened with the task of discovering a major of study.

“It immediately provides an opportunity for students to have a sense of belonging instead of coming to a campus that’s much larger in their minds and knowing zero persons,” Jones said. “You belong to something; you belong to a community. Our goal is to create a mood to where students are inspired and they want to be involved.”

The revamped lobby consists of a smaller, quieter room for meetings or study and a larger social room with several tables, couches and a TV. There is also an entertainment room that includes pingpong, billiards and foosball tables.

White is also adding a few “Wordle” graphics, the popular illustrations made up of several phrases jammed together like “study hard” or “nice work.” Even “take a nap” appears in one of the word clouds.

The amenities are being positioned, thoughtfully, in a way that students will have a chance to best utilize them.

“We initially put certain things in different locations to compliment what the students are using them for,” White said. “We use square tables so they can have big groups or small groups and so forth. We have tables together in the game room for cards and stuff.”

This motif is being catered to students in EXCEL, but the template may also be used for other living communities in the future.

“Lake Hall is just the beginning of what we’re trying to do,” White said. “It was a perfect opportunity because the department already had a living community over there. It’s something we can build off of.”

Contact Ryan Lewis at [email protected].