Walk-in study rooms available

Memorial Union opens rooms for students during finals week

Finals week is coming and people are going to be studying everywhere. Every table, couch, desk, bench and chair in the main Valley Library and Memorial Union spaces will be completely full of students cramming for their exams. Study rooms in the library will be booked solid. And there might even be a few people camped out with their textbooks on the floor.

During dead and finals week, many students flock to campus in order to place themselves in an environment where they can get their studying done, which can often make it difficult for some students to find places to study when the more well-known areas fill up. But what most students may not know is that each term the MU opens two rooms up for students to study in during finals week.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re in a group or just someone studying,” said Heather Rapp, the event coordinator at MU guest services. “Our building gets rather busy during that time and there’s not a lot of tables in the concourse or room in the lounge, so we thought this was another way to get people utilizing the rooms that might sit empty otherwise.”

According to Rapp, two rooms are taken offline on the MU room reservation system years in advance in order to ensure they will be available for students to study. For winter term 2017, the rooms will be open from March 18-23.

“It’s usually room 211 and room 212 upstairs and that is on the west side of the building,” Rapp said. “They’re adjoining rooms, so it keeps things quiet and there’s not someone next door being a little loud. Not that we have a lot of meetings that are loud, but laughter, people showing videos and doing presentations can be a distraction for students while they study.”

Room 211 is a 1063 square foot room set up classroom style, meaning there are tables and chairs all facing the same direction, and it can hold up to 36 people. Room 212 is a 524 square foot room set up like a conference room with 16 chairs around one large, oval table in the middle.

Rapp said that the rooms are simply left open for students to come in and study with no reservations needed. The rooms are set up this way because the MU cannot reserve their rooms to groups who request one specifically for studying.

“It’s in our policies. So if a group puts through a request for a study room, I have to actually let them know that that’s not something that we provide since there’s other areas on campus like the library that does do that,” Rapp said. “The Student Union’s purpose is absolutely for the students, through and through, but we don’t let the student groups take our rooms just for studying.”

According to Rapp, they ask all students choosing to study in the study rooms to leave the doors open because they need to continue to look available for other students to come in and study. They would also prefer it if students did not rearrange the table and chair setup within the rooms. Finally, they want the students using the space to be aware and respectful of the fact that others will be studying in the same room.

“We just ask that people respect those that are around them,” Rapp said. “When you go into a space and it’s a communal study space, don’t be a distraction.”

In addition to pulling the two study rooms offline to give students space to study, the MU tries to limit noise in the building during finals week, according to Rapp.

“We are very careful on what work and maintenance we do during dead and finals week,” Rapp said. “We don’t allow events in the main lounge because a lot of the time it’s musical performances and it’s such a big public space that we don’t want a lot of noise in the building. We want the students to be able to study.”

According to Marriah De La Vega, the MU guest services office manager, the MU staff is dedicated to making the MU a good environment for students.

“It’s really important to us as the staff for people to come here and feel comfortable and safe,” De La Vega said. “We are just 100 percent behind the students to be as prepared as possible.”

Other ways the MU helps students feel more prepared during finals are by setting up power strips in the rooms and by providing snacks in the study rooms and in baskets in the front of the MU. They also have a snack cart from the original catering department that goes around about every hour carrying fresh fruit and candy.

“It’s an original food trolley cart from back in the day that we have resurrected and are using again,” De La Vega said.

When the rooms are available as study rooms, there will be posters (ABOVE) in front of the MU lobby directing students to the rooms and signs in front of the actual doors labeling them as the winter 2017 study rooms.

According to Rapp, these rooms are a good option for students when it might otherwise be difficult finding a space.

“We’d love to see them utilized more. I think most people think, ‘I’m going to go to the library to study, that’s where everyone goes,’” Rapp said. “We love it when people come in here to study, I mean there’s pretty busy times where you can’t find a table in the concourse or a couch in the main lounge because they’re full of students studying and that’s what we’re here for.”