West Wing housing displaced by CPDC

The Career Center will expand into the second floor of West Wing.  (credit: Sara Remi Fields/) The Career Center will expand into the second floor of West Wing. (credit: Sara Remi Fields/)

The university has drafted plans to move the Career and Professional Development Center (CPDC), currently in the basement of the University Center, to West Wing. The change has sparked strong reactions among students.

Gina Casalegno, dean of Student Affairs, said that space played a major factor in the decision. “The current CPDC footprint in the lower level of the University Center is unable to accommodate the growing demand from employers who want to come to campus to recruit top CMU talent,” she said. “A move to the second floor of West Wing allows us to maintain a strong on-campus recruiting program in the central location of the UC while maintaining space to support our one-to-one engagement with students as they explore their career development.”

Casalegno explained that the new expansion to the career center will allow students and organizations to use the space when not occupied for recruiting purposes. “While the current CPDC footprint will be dedicated to employer engagement with students by day, this expansion allows for us to explore a flipped-space model where we can open the center in the evenings and on weekends to student organizations, study-group sessions and other opportunities to support the student experience.”

The move comes with support from student government. “Last year when I proposed to student government the possibility of creating a win-win scenario for students in reconfiguring these spaces, they were very supportive of this expanded set of opportunities to serve student needs,” Casalegno said.

Nevertheless, many students are disappointed that potential rooms will be eliminated from the highly sought-after West Wing space. Others are concerned that they will no longer be able to retain their West Wing rooms when the career center is officially moved to the space.

Sophomore design major Solomon Ng, a resident of West Wing, said, “I think it’s nice that they’re trying to expand this facility that CMU has to offer, but I think there are so many other places they can do it. Not a residential area, because this is a place where students live and call home. So when you displace a large number of students, where could they stay that would be more convenient than West Wing or Resnik?”
“Unless they are planning on expanding West Wing to a larger building, it is doing more harm than good because so many people have to figure out other places to live and it becomes a big hassle for the students and when you take up an entire floor, you take out the kitchen, and West Wing only has two kitchens,” Ng continued.

“Choosing to do it in a dorm is probably not the best of ideas. Because it’s a dorm you also have to consider who’s coming in and out, swiping cards. Therefore, security and safety comes into question as well,” he said.

Casalegno feels confident in solving this problem. “We have worked with Housing Services, the Student Dormitory Council, the West Wing staff and students to ensure that students who currently live on the second floor of West Wing will be accommodated to retain like spaces in West Wing or Resnik next year if that is their desire. We are also looking to other options in the current housing stock to renovate that we believe will be very attractive to the student body, mitigating this loss in West Wing.”