Spa redesign committee to be formed in coming weeks

Talks have been in place between the Student Government Association (SGA) and Dean of the College Karlene Burrell-McRae `94 over potential updates to Cotter Union, colloquially known as the Spa. These conversations are part of Burell-McRae’s initiative to form multiple, specialized SGA committees in an effort to improve lacking areas of campus; this is a very similar situation to the committees that contributed to the recent Civil Discourse and BIPR changes.

Burrell-McRae, in an interview with the Echo, explained, “You have a running list of things that you are trying to get to, right? What’s working? What’s not? What do you need to revamp? Reinvigorate in some ways?” The state of the Spa is simply the next project on this list.

The College Affairs committee convened on Oct. 14 to discuss the need to consider a Spa redesign, and the decision was made to create a committee of students, faculty, and staff specifically for this topic. Burrell-McRae explained to the Echo her thought process in structuring her initiatives through small committee organization.

“Like with everything else I’ve participated in, I think the community needs to be a part of that conversation,” Burrell-McRae said. “So that’s why it’s been exciting to work with SGA, to think about [whether we can] review what is currently in place and see [if] there’s an opportunity to elevate it.”

Because the committee has not yet been formed, the state of the project is currently in its earliest stages, so no specific plans or student polls have been pushed yet. When it does have its first discussions, the group will report its progress back to the College Affairs Committee (CAC).

Junior Class Co-President and CAC Co-Chair Sam Leppo `21 has been selected for inclusion in the redesigned Spa committee-to-be. As a result, he will have an in-depth role in driving the committee’s direction. He will also be in a useful position to field related questions posed by the junior class, or send concerns over to the SGA body for deliberation.

“The committee will look at physical design and more importantly, function,” Leppo said in an interview with the Echo. “Students have expressed opinions that the Spa is not the space they want it to be and wish they can better utilize it. Of course, many students like the Spa the way it is. We will be looking into how students feel and what they would like to see.”

Ileana Glyptis `20, a spa-goer who has not seen many changes to the student union in her three-year stint at the College, mentioned she would “change the couches,” since the furniture has yet to be updated in years.

Leppo also explains that since the Spa has not often been spoken about in a formal discussion setting, he anticipates “fruitful” input throughout early talks.

If students would like to contribute to the conversation and supply their opinions, the committee will be freely available to join once it has formed; its current formation date is to be determined, but Leppo explained that this topic is an SGA priority this year. Leppo also anticipates some sort of method to collect large-scale student feedback as an alternative participation option.

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