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Campus Celebrates Revamped Student Center With Block Party

Christine Clark | April 21, 2008

Penny Rue (Photo / Victor W. Chen)
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Penny Rue spoke during the Student Center block party.
Click here to view a slideshow of the event.

Free vegetarian curry. Prize giveaways. World music. The Old Student Center was bustling with traffic for the first time in months during a block party that celebrated the revamped complex Thursday.

The event helped reintroduce the facility to the UC San Diego community after a second phase of renovation. The project included additional space for student organizations, Groundwork Books, the General Store, the Bike Shop and the Food Co-op. In addition, the Grove Café expanded to offer inside seating and a Tree House computer lounge was added.

At the event, the Food Co-Op served a cornucopia of vegetarian food. Students sampled free ice cream from Hi Thai and complimentary burgers from the Grove. They also could soak up the midday sun while listening to international music from the UCSD DJ and Vinylphiles Club.

Students and free ice cream (Photo / Victor W. Chen)
Students enjoyed free ice cream from Hi Thai.

“I was surprised to find something like this going on on campus, but I think it is really cool,” said John Lee, a student who attended the party after seeing an advertisement for the event the previous day.  “I think the free food is great.”

The event was organized by the University Centers block party planning committee, which is comprised of 50 percent students. Students on the committee requested to have an event that would showcase the tenants and welcome students to the renewed space, said Paul Terzino, director of University Centers. “We wanted to have a casual celebration because we thought it would be more appropriate than a ribbon-cutting ceremony,” he said.

Tenants of the Student Center, such as the LBGT Resource Center, the Women’s Center, the UCSD Guardian and UC San Diego’s student-run radio station, KSDT, set up booths and greeted guests at the block party. “The tenants really came together to pull off a nice community-building event,” said Sharon Van Bruggen, University Centers block party planning committee co-chair.

Meredith Wong of KSDT Radio (Photo / Victor W. Chen)
KSDT radio promotions director Meredith Wong passed out stickers and buttons during the event.

Meredith Wong, the KSDT promotions director, passed out stickers and buttons at a booth. “This is a really great way to raise awareness about the Student Center,” Wong said.  “This is a great place and I have had a chance to talk about the radio station and our philosophy to a lot of people.”

Several of the tenants expressed relief that construction of the center was nearly over.

“We did see a decrease in traffic,” General Store cashier Samantha Sanchez said. “It was a bummer to come to work every day and see the construction, but I think the center looks so much better now.”

Van Bruggen said she hopes the completion of the project helps students see the Student Center in a new light. “Many people refer to it as the ‘Old’ Student Center,” Van Bruggen said. “Although it is indeed the original Student Center on campus, it has a renewed spirit and energy with the completion of construction and many new improvements.”

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