New Work/Study Space At North Campus Creates Community

On a recent  Friday afternoon, a group of four students worked on a class project inside the hub lounge, located at the new Multidisciplinary Academic Learning Lounges (MALLs) in  Room 1164 at North Campus.

Keruinsey Cassesus and his classmates use a Smart TV to display a class PowerPoint from a laptop.

“I like the setup of the MALLs even though it is kinda small, but overall, I like the design of it,” Cassesus said. “When I go to FIU South, there are places and spots you can go to and have a group and discuss and get work done.”

The MALLs and the hub is created with exactly that purpose, to assist students in their educational journey at North Campus by providing programs and activities.

The hub is the size of a typical classroom. At the entry is a receptionist desk and three colorful circular couches.  The room has three long conference tables. Two smaller rooms off to the side have a clear glass door and wall. A large whiteboard wall within allows students to write out ideas for group projects. The room is open Monday through Thursday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. On Friday, the room is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Schedules may change during midterms and finals.

In the space, students are able to have access to laptops while in the lounge, two collaborative spaces with white board walls and a TV that has screen mirroring allowing it to be used with other devices that have the same function. Peer tutoring and other activities will be offered throughout the term.

The hub lounge was opened on Jan. 14. It is the first of three lounges to be opened at the College. The program  will focus on liberal arts and science, technology, engineering and math education (STEM). Throughout the next three years, two more MALLs will provide spaces for students to study, collaborate with peers, network and provide resources for students.

The MALLs earned a Title V grant from the Department of Education for the North Campus and the Carrie P. Meek Entrepreneurial Education Center, awarding the College $2 million throughout the next five years. The funds will go to pay for construction of the three lounges, staffing and MALLs programs.

The next lounge will be The Studio, which will be dedicated to performing and visual arts activities at an undetermined location. The final lounge will be called  Innovations and will be at the Carrie P. Meek Entrepreneurial Education Center. It  will focus on building students’ business skills and connecting them to academic resources. Construction dates  for the next two lounges have not been decided yet.

The hub offers a unique opportunity for first year students, the Peer-Led Institute for Educational Excellence program or PIE². The project has four modules each with a different goal to assist first year students. They focus on understanding your pathway, campus resources and navigation, your academic growth and your personal growth.

Professor Carola Pedreschi, who was part of the team that earned the Title V Grant award, gave a speech at the MALLs’ inauguration. More than 200 students participated in the program during the fall, including Pedreschi’s psychology Honors College students.

Evelyn Rodriguez, MALLs executive director, encourages students to stay at the campus and enjoy the wide-range of curricular and co-curricular offerings.

“MALLs is unique because we offer a variety of services and programs,” Rodriguez said. “We want to make it easy for any student to walk into our facilities and feel welcome and part of a community that aims for success. We strive to ensure every student feels at home in The Hub.”

For more information see: //sharknet.mdc.edu/organization/MALLs

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Lorena Umaña

Lorena Umaña ,19, is a mass mass communications/journalism major at Kendall Campus. Umaña, a 2014 graduate of Felix Varela Senior High School, will serve as a staff writer for The Reporter during the 2015-2016 school year. She aspires to work for National Geographic or become a book editor.

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