Open space for global perspective

Photo by Julia Brennan ‘17
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Oechsle Center for Global Education becomes the latest addition to Lafayette’s campus

The Oechsle Center for Global Education, which houses the departments of anthropology &sociology, area studies and international affairs, has been completed in time for the start of spring semester classes.

Many Brown Bags and presentations will be held in the new building in the near future, Chair of the International Affairs Professor David Stifel said.

“We’re hoping to have some events this spring in connection with the opening,”President Alison Byerly said. “There will be a formal opening of the building in March, so there will be some lectures associated with that. We may do things like have students who have studied abroad do presentations about the work that they did…so that other students can understand what the opportunities are.”

The building was able to open on time despite numerous problems that threatened to set back the project.

“Major challenges on the project included the amount of rock that was encountered during excavation for the foundation system and the extremely cold winter of 2013,” Director of Facilities Planning Mary Wilford-Hunt said. “Despite these challenges, we were pleased to be able to remain on schedule with construction.”

The building includes classrooms equipped with a “smart” podium that controls all equipment and room specifications via touchscreen, a DVD player and a document camera, according to a press release from the college.

“These classrooms are much more comfortable,” Stifel said.“There is a lot more space, and the ability to use the projector and the screen at the same time that you use the whiteboard is a nice feature.”

The building also has a multi-purpose room, planned as a place for students to study and work together.

“The building exemplifies Lafayette’s commitment to providing high quality facilities that are adaptable and flexible for student-centered learning,” Wilford-Huntsaid.

Another facet of the building is that many of its features allow for long-term sustainability. The use of pre-heating and cooling processes and LED lighting help to promote energy efficiency in the building, the press release explained.

“It’s mostly glass, which means that there is not a big need for inside lighting,”Aditya Mehta ‘18 said. “This is one of the many ways that the building maintains a green initiative.”

Pieces of wood from different locations around the world were used to create focal points around the building. The piece of wood that is meant to represent North America is part of an English elm that once stood on the Quad.

“Lafayette has a long tradition of interest in global studies and global issues,”Byerly said. “We recognize that the world that all of you will enter as students when you leave Lafayette is increasingly globalized and interconnected. Having some exposure to or a grasp of the kinds of issues and cultures of other places will be important for students of any major when going out into the world.”

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