The new Boerigter Center for Calling and Career, launching this fall, is making a bold statement about the intentional design of work space on Hope’s campus. We’re adopting a work-space model that is not very common on college campuses today, but is known to foster greater collaboration and innovation. The staff and students of the new Boerigter Center will be working in an open-plan office rather than in private offices. The new space in DeWitt, currently under construction and opening in September, will combine a spacious, welcoming lobby with different types of seating for study, conversation and small 4-6 person meetings, with 6 small meeting rooms for private conversations, and an open-plan work area for about 10-15 staff and students. No one working in the Boerigter Center will have their own office, but everyone will have access to quiet, private spaces for deep thinking, conversations and meetings, when needed. Why are we moving to an open-plan office?
- The space of work has changed
Open-plan offices have been around for decades and have been adopted by many leading companies including Google and Facebook because this office plan provides faster flow of information, leading to more collaboration, enhanced innovation and more efficient use of space. Many Hope graduates land jobs at employers that have adapted the open-plan office, and yet, students have primarily experienced a campus environment where faculty and staff work in private offices. We’ve intentionally designed the new Boerigter Center to be an on-campus model of a work-space that students may experience when they land their first job.
- Collaborating more to serve students better
The Boerigter Center for Calling and Career is bringing together staff from the former Career Development Center together with Advising, and Alumni and Family Engagement staff, to work together in more connected and integrated ways. We plan to use the open office space to host alumni and employers for information panels, interviews and other sessions designed to help students be better prepared for work. The center will have moveable furniture in the open lobby that we can reconfigure for a reception or panel discussion with alumni, as well as many small meeting rooms for interviews.
- Flexible spaces serve students better
Students will come to the Boerigter Center for many reasons: to talk with a staff member about their strengths, their major, their resume, landing an internship, networking, interviewing and so much more. Students may come to meet 1-on-1, or they may come to a group session or workshop. We’re designing spaces with lots of flexibility to accommodate many types of conversations and explorations. Come have a cup of coffee at one of our high-top tables to review your resume, or to prepare for an upcoming interview, or to meet with an employer about an internship. We’re going to have many places for students, faculty, staff, alumni and employers to study, mingle, talk and learn so once those construction walls are down and the space is open, make a point to stop by for a visit.
Come September, we’ll be eager to show off the new space as we work with students to help them discern their calling and prepare for their careers. Helping students experience the cycle of discern, prepare, pursue is how we’re hoping to engage with and serve students. And, when you stop by for a visit, ask us what we’ve learned about working together in the new open-office space, I’m sure we’ll have lots to share.