For more than a decade, Hillsdale College’s biology majors have enjoyed the ability to study and hang out in their own lounge in the Strosacker Science Center.
With the expansion of the core curriculum in which non-hard science majors must take a full semester of biology, physics, and chemistry, however, the college has transformed the biology lounge into another classroom to provide needed extra space, Dean of Natural Sciences Chris Van Orman said. It cleared the furniture from the room during the fall semester and is being used for instruction this semester.
“The biology lounge was the best and least expensive option to turn it back into a classroom,” Van Orman said. “That classroom can hold 36 students and was outfitted with the most current technology by the IT department.”
Several biology professors are teaching classes in the room this semester.
In the 1990s, SSC 202 was a classroom, and it became a biology student lounge during Strosacker’s renovation in the early 2000s, according to Van Orman.
“The room was a place that biology majors could go to study or work on their projects,” he said. “They also had tutoring for all the biology classes in that space, as well.”
The biology lounge was a special room set aside for the exclusive use of biology majors, though it was used more in the evening and less heavily during the day, Van Orman said.
“The bio lounge was a quiet place for science majors to hang out and study,” senior biology major Megan Armstrong said. “There were some computers and a printer that were for bio majors only, a fridge to store snacks, and a few coffee makers.”
For now, the chemistry lounge in SSC 302 and the physics lounge in SSC 122 are safe, Van Orman said.
“At this point, we have no need to convert either the chemistry or physics lounges into classrooms,” he said. “The chemistry lounge has been a small seminar room and an office in the past, so that could be an option again in the future.”
Biology majors like Armstrong, however, said they miss their favorite study spot.
“I understand that there was a need for more classrooms, but I feel that the lounge would be kind of cramped as a classroom, especially for a large class size,” Armstrong said. “I know a lot of bio majors were upset, me included, that we were losing the lounge. It was a nice quiet place to study.”
New biology majors said it disappointed them that they missed out on the space and that it is harder to find a biology tutor, though the department moved the tutoring station to the bridge between Strosacker and the Dow Science Center.
“I was devastated, when I found out,” sophomore Andrea Wallace said. “I hurried to declare my bio major in order to spend time in the lounge, and it was repurposed the first semester I could have used it.”
Armstrong and Wallace said they now study in the bridge between Strosacker and Dow or in the aquatic research lab.
“I don’t think I would have been as upset, if we were offered a replacement quiet study place, and I know some other bio majors feel the same way,” Armstrong said.