Changes made to promote student satisfaction
Prior to the start of the semester, Dean of Student Affairs David Hennessey welcomed students back to campus and introduced several new changes being made. These changes included switching Late Night from Boomer’s Grill back to 1851, changing Donahue Bookstore into the Gear Shop, new laundry machines, and upgrades to athletic spaces.
Hennessey explained the changes were made to promote student satisfaction. He says, “We want this to be as good an experience as possible. Students have gone through three hard years with COVID here, and even last year when things were tailing down, we were just starting to get back to normal last year, and we really want a more normal semester.”
“We can never get that time back, but we can get back to the way things used to be and have a better campus environment for students,” Hennessey says.
One of the largest changes concerned Donahue Bookstore, which is now known as the Gear Shop. The store is no longer owned by Barnes and Noble and instead is operated by University Gear Shop.
Andrew Maylor, Vice President of Finance and Operations, says last year Barnes and Noble notified Lasell it would no longer be operating the campus’s bookstore, as well as many other college bookstores across the country.
“We saw that as an opportunity to bring in a company that provided a wider range of gear, things we haven't historically offered at the store,” Maylor says. “The new vendor, University Gear Shop can literally brand almost anything and has been successful at other colleges throughout the country meeting the needs of students, employees, alumni, and others interested in showing pride in the university.”
Barnes and Noble is also no longer working with the university in regards to textbooks. Instead, the university is now working with eCampus to provide students with access to textbooks.
Maylor explained the decision to choose this vendor, saying, “When deciding on an alternative vendor we were looking for a partner that could provide all of the course materials we needed on a timely basis that was also easy for students to use and provided for the lowest cost possible. eCampus had a national reputation for meeting all of those goals.”
Another major update to campus are the upgraded team rooms in the Athletic Center for teams such as women’s soccer and men’s basketball. According to Chief of Staff and General Council and Interim Athletics Leader Jennifer OKeeffe, the money for these team rooms came from fundraising. So far, OKeeffe claims the feedback regarding these team rooms has been exceedingly positive.
Graduate student and women’s soccer captain Caroline St. Croix says the new team rooms have had a positive impact on her team. “While it sounds crazy, the new upgrades have bonded our women's soccer team. It is a safe and comfortable space we can go to before games or practices to hang out, mentally prepare, or even do our homework,” St. Croix says.
St. Croix also notes the team rooms are a major upgrade from what she has experienced in her four previous years on the team, mostly because of the personal space it gives athletes.
“Before being our locker room, it was a dance room, with a mirror and yoga mats. At one point it was a workout facility for sports teams where the athletic trainers would train the teams. I was always really frustrated seeing other Lasell teams have lockers and safe spaces their teams could go to before games and practices while we were forced to keep our equipment and gear in our dorm rooms. While I only get to use our locker room this year, I am so excited for future Lasers to enjoy the new upgrades for years to come,” St. Croix says.
According to OKeeffe, the upgrades to these athletic facilities came from a need to invest in athletes, who currently make up a third of the student population. She also believes improved athletic spaces will help recruit new athletes to come to campus.
OKeeffe wants to continue strengthening the Athletic Department for those very reasons, with future plans for athletics involving implementing more fundraising and signing all of the coaches to full-time positions.
Other changes on campus include Late Night moving back to Arnow Campus Center, where it was in 2021 before it moved to Valentine Dining Hall and Boomer’s Grill in 2022. Late Night at 1851 is open Sunday through Thursday from 7:30 p.m.-11:00 p.m. and features a rotating menu of dining options.
Additionally, the washers and dryers in residential buildings were replaced with new machines. A new app, CSC Go, has replaced the previously used CSCPay Mobile and has reduced the cost of using a machine to $1.75 per wash and per dry.
Maylor says these changes were implemented with the hopes of providing for students in the most efficient ways possible, saying, “The goal of this process was the same as every process–how can we best serve our students?”