from November 8th issue
By Christine Maccarone
As of right now, the lower level of Hennepin Hall near the Women’s Center has an unusable large space. This room is under the beginning stages of renovations by the determined Dr. Shannon O’Neill, Director of the Thea Bowman Women’s Center, who hopes to transform this dull, impracticable space into a “hip, edgy, and eco-friendly” lounge for Siena Students. The library and other study areas tend to be monotonous, and with O’Neill’s ambitions, this new lounge will take studying to a new comfort-level. The purposes of the renovations are to “incorporate care for creation with the use of eco-friendly design and respect for the individual with fairly traded furnishings.” In keeping with the Franciscan values, the hopes for this unusable space will be made usable, with care and environmentally safe materials.
O’Neill wants to ensure that students are studying in a safe environment, where they do not have to worry about what they are breathing in or sitting on. The sustainable materials, such as the flooring and furnishings, will be made with Marmoleum, an environmentally safe material that is also easy to clean. For the floors, an FSC wood will be used, which is from sustainable harvested forests and tree farms. The fabrics will be made completely from recycled materials, whenever feasibly possible. Also, the materials will be purchased locally. Accent Furniture, a local furniture store, has identified a New York company that follows environmental policies. Gunlocke Furniture Company in Wayland, New York produces furniture that keep to the environmental codes, such as reduced emissions, reduced water use, and recycling wood scrap for fuel. However, this is quite a challenge because the majority of eco-friendly material tends to be the most expensive.
Every aspect of this lounge has been thought out, from the floors to the wall decorations. A Siena alumnus has been working with O’Neill to create this new space. He has come up with logo prints to put on the walls that will emphasis the mission of the campus. These stenciled phrases will create a decorative mural, saying things such as “reverence for all creation,” “service with the poor and marginalized,” and “affirmation of the unique worth of each person.” These statements embody the Franciscan values and will be a decorative reminder to students.
Ultimately, the hopes for the student lounge will force students to look deeper into their moral dimensions and “pursue the common good.” This lounge will be an important part of campus for students, in its creativity, environmentally friendly materials, but more importantly it will offer a comfortable and quiet work space. In addition, the lounge will have wireless, along with tables and couches to enhance learning for groups or the individual. The project is in its beginning stages, but once all of the funding is received and the renovations begin, this lounge will be a highly utilized and convenient space for all students, not just those who live in Hennepin.