By JOHN KLINE
THE GOSHEN NEWS
Goshen College opened its doors to the community Sunday afternoon for a special community fair and open house to showcase its newly renovated Union Building.
From 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, visitors to the campus got the opportunity to explore the college’s new Welcome Center, view the recently established Center for Intercultural and International Education, and experience a live broadcast of the college’s award-winning, student-run radio station, 91.1 The Globe, all of which are currently housed in the college’s much-revamped Union Building.
In 2012, the Union Building underwent a renovation that transformed the west half of the old gym into new office spaces, a conference room, reception area and renovated bathrooms. The project was funded by the Lilly Endowment, which in 2006 granted $12.5 million to the college to establish the Center for Intercultural Teaching and Learning (CITL), now known as the CIIE, which encompasses what was once the Multicultural Affairs Office, CITL, and the International Education and Study-Service Term programs.
“Today we’re really highlighting three things, the first of which is the new Welcome Center,” said Jim Caskey, vice-president for institutional advancement at the college. “Located at the north end of the building, the Welcome Center is really the entry for anyone coming to the campus to be directed to wherever they need to go. Then this summer we also updated and renovated the whole Globe radio station, so that’s another one. And then we also completed work on the new Center for Intercultural and International Education, and that’s the big piece of it, because that brought together our international education program, SST, as well as the new Center for Intercultural Teaching and Learning, which has an emphasis on access and greater service to the Latino community around us.”
Widely considered in its heyday to be the center of campus life at the college, Caskey noted that over the past few years, with the addition of things like a new campus coffee house and rec center, use of the Union Building quickly began to drop off, rendering a once-bustling building nearly empty and lifeless.
“In its heyday, it was the center of campus, because everybody came here to get their mail, and the coffee shop was here, and the basketball games were in the gymnasium,” Caskey said. “But through the years it has become less and less central to the campus. So in order to try and change that, we came up with plans for two phases of renovation. Phase 1 is of course what we’re showing here today, and then with phase 2 there will be some additional plans like bringing in the Communications Department and some better spaces for professors, community members and students to interact on a regular basis. So we’re kind of trying to bring the Union back into the center of things, and thinking about how we can reuse this space.”
In addition to building tours, Sunday’s free event also featured numerous entertainment options for attendees such as student musicians and performers, face painting and displays of student and faculty artwork. Visitors to the open house also had the chance to register for a number of prizes such as an iPad mini, Performing Arts Series tickets, a college cabin rental and passes to the college’s Recreation-Fitness Center.
Jason Samuel, general manager of 91.1 The Globe, was also on hand to show off the newly-renovated radio station while also keeping an eye on his students during the station’s live broadcast taking place in the Union Building lobby.
“It’s fantastic,” Samuel said of the station’s recent renovations and upgrades. “It has benefited the students tremendously, and the Communications Department as a whole. Our technology now is on par with many commercial radio stations, and in some instances is going to exceed what the students are going to see when they enter the workforce.”
Just awarded “Best College Radio Station in the Nation” for the second time in three years by the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System, Samuel noted that The Globe has also been named “Radio School of the Year” in Indiana for the last two years by the Indiana Association of School Broadcasters.
“This ability to renovate our facilities has really given us an advantage in recruiting along with the awards we’ve won,” Samuel said. “It shows potential future GC students what they can do here at The Globe as part of the greater Goshen College community.”