The Student Service Center plans for redesign

by Christopher Gavin / Beacon Correspondent • November 8, 2012

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The Student Service Center is planning a redesign of its office.
The Student Service Center is planning a redesign of its office.

The Student Service Center is working on a redesign that will see extra office spaces added next year, according to MJ Knoll-Finn, the vice president of enrollment.

On Nov. 2, Knoll-Finn met with architect Peter Darlow to discuss options for renovating the center, she said. They hope the redesign and reorganization will improve privacy and convenience for students. 

“We are looking at our space and will renovate it to better reflect our need to have more one-on-one conversations with students,” Knoll-Finn said in an email interview.

According to Knoll-Finn, there is no time frame for when the renovations will take place, but she believes the changes will not happen until next year.

“We’re looking at [the] downstairs space [in the Student Service Center] and trying to make it a little bit less transactional,” Knoll-Finn said. 

She said the current layout will still remain even after the addition of private spaces. However, the need for the current counter service is decreasing due to the accessibility of online tools that provide students with direct deposit and course selection options, said Knoll-Finn. 

“We will still have space for quick transactions but want a space that reflects our current needs better,” she said.

The center was created 10 years ago to help students with questions and problems they have concerning college life, Knoll-Finn said. 

According to the center’s page on Emerson’s website, it works to answer questions about billing, allows students to review their degree audits and submit financial aid documents, outlines billing options for students, distributes student employment checks, and collects tuition payments.

 Currently, additional offices that work in conjunction with the Student Service Center are located in the Union Savings Bank Building and include the Office of Financial Aid, the Office of Student Accounts, and the office of the Registrar, according to Knoll-Finn. The center itself is located in the Little Building. 

 These offices will not be consolidated during the reorganization due to space constraints. 

 Officials are, however, planning on moving some staff from the Financial Aid and Student Accounts Departments into the new spaces to improve convenience and functionality by the beginning of the spring semester.

 “We’re going through training [right now] and working very hard so that we’re more thorough and able to deliver the service students are expecting from us,” Knoll-Finn said. 

After the reorganization, Knoll-Finn said students should expect faster service.

  The Student Service Center was able to learn the needs of students through surveys, an audit they conducted of the work they do, and meetings with the center’s advisory group, according to Knoll-Finn.  

 Rebekka Hohenboken, a senior communication studies major, and Adrian Kort, a senior visual and media arts major, both feel that privacy is currently an issue at the center.

“I prefer having privacy. It was hard to try to block everyone out,” Hohenboken said. 

Kort said he had to go to the center to discuss his financial aid.

“It’s very weird and everyone can hear you,” Kort said.

Knoll-Finn said the center’s current needs are focused on the students.

“I think that, for me, it’s mainly putting students first in our minds.” she said.

 

 Frankie Olito, news editor and employee of the Student Service Center, did not edit this article.