Student Programs building a new home

After seven years in the making, an ambitious project to renovate the body and soul of the Student Programs facilities at Bellevue College is coming to fruition. The project is focused on offering improved accessibility to Student Programs facilities, as well as the opportunity for all students to use state of the art communications technology for intercampus networking.

“It’s a remodel to make the office more open to students,” said Jay Kim, a front desk worker for Student Programs. Located on the top floor of the Student Union in Building C, the Student Programs facilities serve as the offices for major student organizations including the Associated Student Government, El Centro Latino, The Black Student Union and the LGBTQ resource center. These offices will be temporarily located at L-100 until the project’s completion.

The walls and partitions that previously divided these groups’ work spaces are to be knocked down as part of the project to improve open communication. “We are getting rid of the walls so we can all see each other,” stated Kim. The projected completion of the project is late October.

The transparent walls in Faisal Jaswal, Assistant Dean of Student Programs, are intended to serve as a welcome to all students who wish to talk with him. This creates the same inviting atmosphere that he hopes to see in the new Student Programs facility. Jaswal believes this renovation to be as philosophical as it is physical.

“Every five to seven years, I believe we need to re-assess students’ needs, and if they need change, then the office needs to change”, stated Jaswal in interview. “You have to adjust to these growing needs, having a diverse population here. The LACC and the Black Student Union, for instance, needed a new and better space to work in.”

Jaswal also sees exciting possibilities in wireless communication technologies being made readily available for student use. “I want students to have state of the art technology available,” he elaborated, adding, “I want to diminish the divide between the haves and the have-nots.”

The idea calls for the procurement of “smart boards.” These are large, wall-mounted touch screens that can be used as platforms for living documents. Students could create announcements or club advertisements on them, and other students who have access to the document could see this editing in real-time from any other computer. “It’s their experience,” said Jaswal, “we want to be taking Student Programs to the students.” Students helping students understand what resources are available to them is a central tenet of the plan.

“To be honest, I don’t think a lot of people know about Student Programs,” said an anonymous LACC (Latin American Culture Club) member, “especially among international students. I’ve had lots of international students come to me asking where they can find this or that kind of help.” Jaswal echoed this sentiment, stating he was “not at all satisfied” with the level of awareness of Student Programs.

The project is being implemented to let students better utilize the resources here at their disposal. The vision is a more interconnected and cohesive workspace. Student Programs wishes to provide an inviting home where students feel comfortable to visit and share their ideas.