Promise Office Moves to Hillwood Third Floor

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By James Bonner

Staff Writer

When students need to meet with their success coaches, they’ll have to trek up an extra flight of stairs. The Promise Office in Hillwood Commons moved to the third floor on August 7, a transition timed alongside other new renovations in Hillwood. The new location has more office space and a patio.

“We wanted to give a place where students could congregate, [and] come for a variety of different reasons, [to] eat, hangout, study, [and] participate in student campus life,” Michael Berthel, executive dean of students, said. There are elevators leading to the third floor and navigational signs throughout Hillwood.

(James Bonner)

Promise staff members such as Berthel, Jean Anne Smith and Ashley John, manage campus life, resident assistants and orientation proceedings. Their presence in Hillwood Commons allows for students to have better access to them with the high foot traffic in the area.

Andrew Serken, a junior history major, was not enthusiastic about the decision. “I’m not really happy with the move. I think it was in a perfect place, and I am unsure where it is currently located, which I’m sure will cause confusion,” he said. “Old promise was just so easy to get to.”

“It’s a part of the bigger plan,” Berthel said. “This is a larger area, it gives us opportunities for some more student programming, it creates a little bit more of an open space for us to put all the coaches and the staff together.” The outdoor patio will be used for student events. The Promise Office’s previous location has been repurposed for a space called the Pavillion, which will focus on Greek Life.

“For us, moving an office out of the second floor so we can give it back to students is just a no brainer,” Berthel said. “People are going to come see Promise and their success coach no matter where they are.

Serken suggested that the Pavillion and similar spaces should be opened for clubs to host events. The Promise office’s new location might be beneficial as long as it is easily accessible and more coaches are hired, according to Serken.

“It was part of a collective brainstorming about Hillwood and how to make improvements to the building,’’ Berthel said on the decision to move Promise. The office has moved before within the last six years, having previously been situated in the Winnick mansion. However, growing staff necessitated a move to wider space. “When it [Promise] first started, there were maybe five counselors, and its grown every time as more students come in,” Berthel said. “We came to Hillwood which we thought was much more appropriate because it’s a student center, where students were at.”

Promise held a Welcome Back event on Sept. 4 in the new office space on the third floor to let students know of the change in location. Food was offered and students had the opportunity to adjust to the new environment. As for the old location, the Pavillion will be open only for Greek Life and those interested in Greek Life and will have the same operating hours as Hillwood.

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