Campus 'living room' open on weekends

Pool Table
The pool table in the Hammond game room

By Patrick Davis

It is a typical weekend at Fitchburg State University. You want to hang out with friends, but not in a crowded dorm room or at an off-campus party. What do you do if there isn’t an activity planned by the Fitchburg Activities Board (FAB) or another campus organization? Where can you hang out? Up until now, weeknight and weekend options have been limited. But starting in October, it is expected that students will have more access to leisure activities on campus.  The Hammond Center game room’s Student Manager, Harrie Faulkner, reported in an email recently, “I plan on starting weekend hours. These hours will be limited at first due to a lack of knowledge of how successful it will be. So if students want it open, they should show up during the weekends.”

Assistant Director of Student Development and Operations, Mike Makoski, added, “We want to have the game room opened up more during the week and weekends.” As of October 2nd, approximately 1,183 people have visited the game room since it moved to the new location in the Hammond Campus Center. Makoski confirmed that there would be a trial period of extended hours for the game room. Extended hours depend on increased student usage and the budget. The game room requires a student worker while it is open, and extra hours will increase the cost to staff the game room.

The hope is that the additional hours will give students more activity options. After all, the Campus Life section of the Fitchburg State University website states that, “Fitchburg State strives to be a home for our students.”  The site continues to say, “in addition to classrooms and dorms, we have a wide variety of resources to support our students and meet their needs…[Fitchburg State] is a home away from home.  Hammond Hall Campus Center is the ‘living room’ of the campus. Students come here to eat, study, relax, and make friends.” The newly completed Hammond Campus Center is home to a game room and the Falcon Hub.

According to the college’s website, “the game room is a student-run area where any student with a One Card can enjoy the fun it has to offer.”  The game room has four new pool tables, two new ping pong tables, one air hockey table, a foosball table, a dartboard, three 32″ HD TVs, one 40″ HD TV, three Xbox 360’s (with an Xbox Live account for student use), a Nintendo Wii, a video game library, and a board game library. Current hours are Monday thru Thursday: 12pm-10pm, and Friday: 12pm-4pm – but look for those hours to be extended.

Another potential student activity spot is the Falcon Hub at the Hammond Campus Center.  During certain events, it operates a limited bar under strict supervision for those students over 21 years of age. It is not opened as a pub over the weekend. Falcon Hub student manager, Jocelyn Byron-Kelly, confirmed that the Falcon Hub has never been open for regular hours during the week or weekend. She reported, “The Falcon Hub is only open when an organization requests us for an event.” When Mike Makoski was asked if the Hub could be used to watch sporting events, he replied, “We are trying to work with Chartwells to potentially show Sunday Night Football in Holmes Dining Hall.”

Having weekend hours at the game room and the Falcon Hub, or events (such as Sunday Night Football at Holmes Dining Hall) would give students a place on campus to hang out with friends. Rather than staying in a dorm room, or a dorm common area, students could go to a community space. Commuters could also come and mingle with residential students. Students who leave campus on the weekends may choose to stay if the game room or Falcon Hub had weekend hours. If students want their campus “living room” open on weekends, they are encouraged to utilize the space during the trial period.