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CPDC opens interview, work rooms in CUC

Elaine Stolick, a Career and Professional Development Center assistant director and career consultant for the College of Fine Arts and industry specialist in arts and entertainment, shows students around the CPDC's new West Wing space during a first-year open house on Aug. 22. (credit: Courtesy of Kevin O’Connell of the Career and Professional Development Center) Elaine Stolick, a Career and Professional Development Center assistant director and career consultant for the College of Fine Arts and industry specialist in arts and entertainment, shows students around the CPDC's new West Wing space during a first-year open house on Aug. 22. (credit: Courtesy of Kevin O’Connell of the Career and Professional Development Center) First-year students tour the Career and Professional Development Center's new location on the second floor of West Wing. (credit: Courtesy of Kevin O’Connell of the Career and Professional Development Center) First-year students tour the Career and Professional Development Center's new location on the second floor of West Wing. (credit: Courtesy of Kevin O’Connell of the Career and Professional Development Center) The Career and Professional Development Center, although it moved its advising center to the second floor of West Wing, has group study and interview rooms in the basement of the CUC. (credit: Braden Kelner/Editor-in-Chief) The Career and Professional Development Center, although it moved its advising center to the second floor of West Wing, has group study and interview rooms in the basement of the CUC. (credit: Braden Kelner/Editor-in-Chief) The Career and Professional Development Center, although it moved its advising center to the second floor of West Wing, has group study and interview rooms in the basement of the CUC. (credit: Braden Kelner/Editor-in-Chief) The Career and Professional Development Center, although it moved its advising center to the second floor of West Wing, has group study and interview rooms in the basement of the CUC. (credit: Braden Kelner/Editor-in-Chief)

This semester, students looking for a place to work with their peers will have a new private space in which to collaborate in the Jared L. Cohon University Center (CUC).

The Career and Professional Development Center (CPDC) announced that, with the relocation of its student advising operations to West Wing, it is opening 30 rooms in its lower-level CUC space for employer recruitment interviews during the day and group work spaces at night.

The CPDC’s CUC spaces will be used as group study or meeting rooms for students from 7 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. every Sunday through Thursday.

Kevin Monahan, associate dean of students affairs for the CPDC, said the majority of the space’s rooms can hold at least four people, although some rooms may hold fewer. A conference room in the space will be able to accommodate more than 10 students, as well as feature a large-screen TV.

Monahan said the rooms can be used for anything from group projects to organizational or leadership meetings. Students will be able to book the rooms through 25Live, a room reservation website used by Carnegie Mellon.

Usually, students and other campus members must wait for an approval email to confirm that they have booked rooms in the CUC, such as the Dowd, McKenna, Peter, and Wright rooms, through the reservation system. However, students do not have to wait for confirmation emails to book the CPDC’s evening study spaces, according to Marcia Gerwig, director of the CUC. Students will be able to book the rooms as early as a week in advance and as late as 24 hours prior to needing the rooms, Gerwig said.

In addition to booking study rooms, students are able to secure rooms through drop-in visits by stopping at the location to check if there are unbooked rooms at the time they arrive. A student CUC employee will be on duty to assist drop-in students in finding and unlocking unbooked rooms, according to Monahan.

To initially gauge how the space could serve student needs, Student Affairs discussed the evening uses of the rooms with executive members of Student Government, according to Monahan. It was determined that, while there were many individual and large group study spaces on campus, there was a need for small- to medium-sized group work spaces.

“These are not individual study carrels,” Monahan said, speaking of the space’s evening function. “These are great interactive group meeting spaces that are very flexible in their makeup and ... allow groups of students to get together to tackle team projects.... It will allow students hopefully more flexible space to explore their academics.”

Student Affairs and Student Government have continued conversations to determine various details of the rooms, such as how students will most likely use the rooms and what amenities they may need, according to Elizabeth Vaughan, director of student activities.

“We want to be able to create more spaces where the intended usage is not as narrowly defined as some other spaces on campus are,” Vaughan said. “These spaces aren’t for one specific purpose, but rather will hopefully meet a wide variety of needs including study space for small groups, meeting locations for student organizations, collaborative project workspace, and gathering spaces for groups. We wanted there to be consistency in timing and [the] reservation process as well as availability for long periods of time on prime study nights.”

During regular business hours, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., the CPDC will use the rooms to facilitate employer relations and house recruitment activities, according to Monahan. Monahan said the CPDC rooms will allow employers to meet with students in an “open house” format, and with CPDC staff, as well as allow students to practice interviewing. The rooms can be used for phone and Skype interviews, as well.

Additionally, recruiters will be able to conduct interviews throughout the on-campus recruiting season, which typically begins in September and runs through November. During this time, recruiters not associated with a particular career fair conduct interviews on campus. Monahan said the rooms will allow the CPDC to conduct a greater number of interviews in conjunction with the university’s career fairs, such as the Business, Technical, Employment, and Creative Arts Opportunities Conferences. Monahan said the CPDC is also “exploring more ways to maximize the use of the CUC-lower level space.”

Vaughan said that, with the inception of the interview rooms, it was important to Student Affairs to “maximize the opportunities possible” for students and to create multi-functional rooms in light of the university’s limited space within a bustling city.

The CPDC moved to its new main location on the second floor of West Wing on Aug. 15. To make the move possible, the university replaced student housing on the floor with CPDC consulting spaces and offices. This semester, the university is opening a new housing facility on Clyde Street, off of Fifth Avenue, which houses 31 students, including a resident assistant, according to floor plans of the facility on the Office of the Dean’s website. The new center occupies about three-quarters of West Wing’s second floor, while the remaining quarter now houses athletics offices, according to Monahan, who said that the CPDC moved 16 staff offices to West Wing, while keeping five offices in the CUC’s lower level for staff coordinating employer recruitment opportunities.