April 10, 2016

Cornell Communication Department Celebrates Opening of The Hub

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The Department of Communication celebrated the grand opening of its highly anticipated new workspace on the fourth floor of Mann Library last Friday.

The space is finished after three years of development and planning and is characterized by a theme of collaboration, according to Katherine McComas, Chair of the Department of Communication.

“We were inspired to create a space with an overall theme of ‘connecting people,’ so providing opportunities for different types of engagement is an important concept employed throughout the design,” McComas said.

McComas said the space, called The Hub, was created so that undergraduate students could “come and study and work alongside faculty and graduate students.”

The Hub encourages this theme with its interior design and architecture, as the center has a lot of open space and all of the rooms within The Hub have large floor-to-ceiling window panels, according to Leah Scolere grad, a member of the design committee.

“From the glass, to the shared views of Beebe Lake, to the colorful graphics and writable surfaces, it is a creative space — one that invites play, curiosity and makes you aspire to contribute to all the amazing research and teaching that is the Department of Communication,” Scolere said.

Scolere said graduate students are positioned in the center of the space to “increase our visibility not only with each other but also with the faculty and our advisors.”

“Being able to see when our advisors are in and being able to stop by with an idea or quick question has really impacted how we think about collaboration,” Scolere said. “The transparency of the glass and openness of our graduate office spaces makes the work we do more visible and gives us more opportunities for connecting with others around new research or teaching ideas.”

Elizabeth Villedrouin ’19 expressed her hope that the new space will promote collaboration.

“I definitely think everyone in the communications department is going to grow closer and more connected to each other,” she said. “The Hub allows us all to relax and chat in our own, collaborative space.”

The Hub will also be convenient for students working on daily activities, according to Rachel Sherman ’18.

“I think the setup and use of neutral colors are ideal for studying,” Sherman said. “It’s also really handy or it to be in the library, and have all the professors’ offices nearby.”

As the new home for the Department of Communication, McComas said she expects The Hub to be a central location for communication students.

“Never before did we have a space where our undergraduates could come and study and work alongside graduate students and faculty,” McComas said. “Now they too have a physical home in our department, and we all have a place to gather around the ‘family table.’”