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New OSAL, Student Organization Space Opens in Webb Center

New OSAL, Student Organization Space Opens in Webb Center

As ribbon-cuttings go, it's rare to see one that covers so much turf.

The Old Dominion University's Office of Student Activities and Leadership (OSAL) and the student organizations that will share the space in Webb Center gathered in front of the former University Bookstore site, as the ribbon was cut to open the new student activities center.

And since a number of organizations - from the Mace & Crown newspaper, to the Student Government Association, to WODU, to ODU Out - will share the fabulous new space, a lot of ribbon was required.

For the Feb. 4 ribbon-cutting, the ribbon stretched all the way down the hall from the back entrance of Webb Center, and around the corner across from the House of Blue food court. Such a large red swath was needed because each of the groups wanted to take part. Many pairs of scissors were required.

"Welcome everyone to the OSAL/university center grand opening," said OSAL director Nicole Kiger. She explained the need for a long, long ribbon: "We wanted all of you to be able to cut the ribbon with us."

As the countdown reached 3-2-1, Kiger handed over the microphone and grabbed a pair of scissors herself. "I wasn't going to miss this," she said with a smile.

The $1 million renovation and relocation was sorely needed for ODU's increasingly active student organizations.

The original Webb Center building is almost 50 years old, and student groups had made do for many years operating out of a honeycomb of rooms on the second floor. The new 8,000-square-foot space will feature more office room for each organization, along with a breakout room with computers, a kitchenette, sign-making facilities and a work/meeting room.

"I think it's the prettiest space on campus," said Sue Mitchell, Webb Center facility director.

After the big ribbon was cut outside, individual organizations cut a ribbon in front of their doors. Then there was a multicolor balloon drop, and the group leaders mingled over snacks at an open house.

"The best part of this center is it will promote more interconnectedness among the organizations," said Student Government Association President Dan Sanford. "It's a chance to work with other organizations on a neighborly level, with the intention of coming together more as a group."

Kelly Donovan, president of ODU's Pan-Hellenic Council, said the space will help increase the awareness of fraternities and sororities on campus.

"A student who is in here and sees the (fraternity and sorority) office might be interested, and find out more about which organization might be best for them," she said.

As an alternative rock song wafted out of the WODU studio, Robbie Ciara, the station's general manager, said the move to the main floor of Webb Center will be a great plus for the campus radio station.

And with a window looking into the studio from the foyer, passers-by will have even more opportunity to get exposed to the campus station's student-run programming.

"That's the first thing we thought about," Ciara said, "especially being here, with the window looking right across to the House of Blue. We already did a lot of our shows from there. This is only going to help us."

This highlight was posted on: February 8, 2010

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