By Jeremy Hirsch
RICHMOND, Va.– This year marks the silver anniversary of the VCU student commons, a building that dominates both campus and many students’ daily VCU experience.
“The commons is like hang central,” said Jeff Early, a VCU Junior.
The festivities began in mid-January and according to Dr. Reuben Rodriguez, Dean of Student Affairs, there is more to come.
“At the beginning of the spring semester we had kind of a birthday celebration,” Rodriguez said. “We’ll continue that throughout the calendar year 2009 all the way into the fall semester so the incoming students can enjoy the fact that the facility has been around for so many years.”
After two renovations–the last in 2004–the facility went from its initial interior size of 69,000 square feet to more than 150,000 square feet, or the size of more than two football fields. The commons now serves more than two million visitors a year.
Velma Hairston, a VCU junior, said the commons is aging well.
“When you look at the building, you wouldn’t think it’s been here 25 years. It looks good. They keep it up pretty well.”
Rodriguez noted that the commons provides a unique opportunity.
“Most universities do not have this kind of resource for students,” Rodriguez said, where students can get food, have student offices, and “they can informally gather and they can also gather for different events.”
Early said the commons is a definite part of the VCU student experience.
“I would imagine any alum you talk to, or anyone who’s gone through here has great memories. You know, 25 years worth of [memories]. That is really awesome to me.”