Geneva site may change

Kristyn Soltis

Credit: DKS Editors

The Board of Trustees will vote to change facility locations in Geneva during today’s board meeting – a step to make the study abroad location more appealing to students.

Mary Ann Saunders, director of the Office of International Affairs, said in addition to the facility, the economic situation might have played a role in students not actively studying abroad at Kent State’s Florence and Geneva facilities in recent years.

“I think that the facility in Florence was underutilized temporarily, and that was a function of the financial downturn,” Saunders said. “But it’s starting to ramp back up, which I think is kind of an interesting indication that perhaps the economic downturn is over.”

Saunders said Florence had, up until this fall, healthy enrollment. She expects it to increase in the spring.

Currently, Florence has 86 architecture students, seven committed from the College of Communication and Information and seven committed from general studies for the spring semester.

She said the situation with the Geneva facility, the John Knox Center, is quite different.

The John Knox Center is limited because it only has about 26 beds.

“We are currently trying to finish a contract, which would have to be approved by the Board of Trustees, to utilize a much larger facility,” Saunders said.

The new facility will be closer to downtown, closer to internship opportunities and have expanded capacity in a more modern facility.

“The facility we have now is not adequate to meet our intellectual needs or to meet the needs of students’ living arrangements,” President Lester Lefton said.

The Office of International Affairs is looking to partner with a company to buy a hotel in downtown Geneva, but that may not happen for another year.

“We have 82 beds in that facility,” Saunders said. “Of that number, about 32 would be occupied by a partner university that would work with the International University in Geneva. But the rest of the beds, the 50 other beds, would be open to our students – and that would be terrific.”

Saunders said one of the reasons she wanted to come to Kent State was to increase the number of students studying abroad.

“Alas, I came in just as the financial mess hit, so now I’m seeing it,” she said. “I’m seeing numbers go up in Florence, and we’ve got higher numbers committed to Geneva for the spring.”

Contact administration reporter Kristyn Soltis at [email protected].