The space formerly known as the Student Organization Suite (SOS) in the University Center began undergoing major renovations in the Fall of 2016. The new Branch Center is meant to be a hub of diversity and inclusivity in honor of Dr. Teresa Branch's commitment to these ideals during her tenure as Vice President of Student Affairs. It is a safe space for all students to meet, plan, organize, and engage with each other. The Branch Center is also home to several student advocacy groups and organizations on campus: The Alliance for Disability and Students at UM (ADSUM), Lamba, The Women’s Resource Center, Fraternity and Sorority Involvement, and the Student Involvement Network (SIN).
In the Summer of 2016, the UC Commons got a face-lift and all of the furniture was replaced in the space. The new UC Commons boasts a variety of table sizes and heights, booths, large tabletops for dining and/or collaborate, a laptop bar, and individual seating options. The updated area more accurately reflects the needs of our current student body, and the furniture selections were informed by data gathered as part of our Master Space Planning process. The UC Commons was featured in the Contract Design Associates' (CDA) Fall Newsletter.
Open to Students, Faculty, Staff and Authorized Guests
The University Center Tech Lounge has recently been upgraded and offers a dynamic learning space with flat screen TVs and Mac desktop computers. The space is ideal for group work and now has more collaborative and individual workspaces, more data ports and new furniture thanks to its new makeover! With USB hubs to connect your media as well as access to the UM network, work groups can collaborate with ease, show presentations and get connected. The UC Tech Lounge also has boosted Wi-Fi, with comfortable chairs and increased connectivity it is a perfect place for study groups and group project meetings.
Dynamic Learning Environment
In response to students' interest in more dynamic learning spaces on the UM campus, the UC partnered with the Student Computer Fee Committee, the Provost's Office, and IT to create a comfortable, tech-friendly, collaborative learning and lounging environment.
Student support for the project was evident in many ways:
- When students were asked on a campus-wide student survey, "Would you support the University adding technology to the UC 2nd floor study lounge?", 84% reported "yes" (N=697);
- The University Center Board and the Student Computer Fee Committee (both primarily made up of students) dedicated student-fees to the project.
The UC Tech Lounge includes the following elements:
- Movable, attractive, sustainable, and comfortable furnishings that can accommodate individual or group use and lounge chairs are equipped with tablet arms for laptop or mobile device use.
- Convenient and accessible floor and wall electrical outlets.
- Movable whiteboards for collaborative study sessions.
- LCD monitors mounted in lounge area and in two multi-media conference rooms for presentation purposes or group study.
- Full coverage wireless access points for internet usage on demand.
- iMac desktop computers that have access to the UM network.
- Internet access-only array of Netbooks mounted on "email bar" with NetID authentication.
- Dedicated monitor to display digital art as an extension of the UC Gallery and UC Art Exhibits.
- Light fixtures made of natural bamboo Forest Stewardship Council (FSF) certified shades and equipped with compact fluorescent lamps.
- IT Student Lab Monitor on-site to assist with technology needs.