President Shirley M. Collado opened the Peggy Ryan Williams Center to student and faculty for an open house Sept. 6.
Upon entering, guests were given a “passport” to the center and Alumni Hall that they used to collect stamps from each department they visited. Guests had the opportunity to collect college merchandise by visiting different departments and handing in their completed passport for a raffle.
At each station, guests were enthusiastically greeted by faculty and staff of the respective department and given a tour. Some departments facilitated additional activities, such as music and dancing in the Office of the General Counsel, and bingo played with facts about different staff members in the Office of Human Resources.
Collado came up with the idea for the event upon entering the college and hearing that the PRW Center was not frequented by students. After hearing about this detachment from the community, she and her leadership team, which consists of the vice presidents at the college, agreed that students and faculty should have an opportunity to interact directly.
“Our team wanted to open up the building where we have such dedicated staff members and leaders who work on supporting so many facets of the institution,” Collado said. “We thought … it would be neat to give people the opportunity to come in and get to know who’s in the building and what people do.”
Every department was able to choose how it wanted to present itself to guests. Each office entrance was personalized with a sign on which occupants stated their hopes for the upcoming year, a surprising fact about themselves, and their favorite thing about the college. Approximately two or three people would be in their offices in each department, where they would greet guests passing by and invite them in to ask questions.
Doreen Hettich-Atkins, coordinator of special services and programs, had her office open during the event. She said not only was the event important for students to learn more about the center, but also for fellow faculty and colleagues to learn more about one another’s departments.
“I learned things I didn’t know about colleagues even in the building,” she said.
She said she observed that most people did not usually branch out beyond their colleagues or departments, despite such mentalities being detrimental to harboring community. She said the open house served as an interactive learning opportunity for students and faculty, and started the year off with an approach that was different from normal.
Hettich-Atkins said this was the first time the PRW Center has had an open house since its establishment in 2008.
Junior Naomi Hanson, a president’s host, said she was pleased with the student turnout and the open communication at the event.
“There were a lot of great conversations with interdisciplinary figures from all over campus,” she said.