New lounge offers students a place to relax, work, collaborate

Students in the College of Engineering and Technology have a new location to learn, collaborate, meet with advisors or simply relax.

The new Student Success Center Lounge is now open in rooms 107 and 108 of the Rawl Building.

“We’re looking for ways to engage students in meaningful and effective relationships with other students in majors from across the college,” said Brad Collier, assistant director of first year and transition programs and an academic advisor for the college. “We wanted what Dean (Harry) Ploehn calls ‘collision space,’ where students can come together to collaborate on ideas or to do research together.”

Students work in the Student Success Center Lounge in the Rawl Building.

The lounge includes chairs, couches and tables where students can simply hang out and talk while enjoying a snack or bottled water. There is plenty of room for student-to-student mentor sessions as well.

Of course, the space offers more than just a relaxing atmosphere. Student teams can gather to work on projects or assignments or simply come in to complete class assignments on their own.

Computer stations are set up, allowing students the ability to meet with advisors to work on Degree Works plans that map their future courses. Registration assistance will also be available.

“This space has been great for our COAD classes and our first-year students especially because they have a place to come and get to know each other, and they can interact with the advisors in the Student Success Center as well,” Collier said. “They get to come here and have informal meetings and just be able to relax and meet people. But the lounge is open to all of our students regardless of their class, so freshmen to seniors are able to utilize this space.”

Sean Purifoy, a freshman information and computer technology major from New Bern, sees the benefits of the lounge for one particular reason.

“All my classes are right in this area. One of them is right on the other side of this wall,” he said.

Not only does he work in the lounge, but he also took advantage of the opportunity to work with his advisor to create his Degree Works plan.

“My first day, we put together my four-year plan,” he said. “The whole idea of being able to see what classes I need to take, I didn’t really know about that until I came in here. It’s a really good opportunity. I feel like a lot of people don’t really know about it. Me being able to see the classes that I have to take in the next 3 1/2 years really helped me envision my time here.”

And just about halfway through his first semester, he’s liked his time at ECU.

“I’ve enjoyed it. Everyone has been nice and responsive,” Purifoy said.

While the lounge is open, another aspect remains in development. A digital lab will provide students opportunities with AR/VR (augmented and virtual reality) technology as well as with coding through a variety of kits.

“What we want is to have a space where students can come in and begin to get experience and an understanding of digital prototyping,” said Josh Pitzer, director of lab operations for the College of Engineering and Technology. “They can come in here during off hours and get help, or the other part of it is, if they just want to come in here and just tinker with digital stuff, they can do that. We wanted this to have a little more advanced digital capability.”

The Student Success Center Lounge is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Students will need to sign in and present a 1 Card for admittance. Students with questions can contact their advisors or go to the Student Success Center website.

Students share a laugh in the Student Success Center Lounge in the Rawl Building.