Grad and professional student lounge opens to foster collaboration

Students at the opening of grad lounge

Graduate and professional students celebrated the opening last week of a new lounge intended for socializing, sharing ideas and building community.

The space on the fifth floor of William Pitt Union differs from the Dissertation Writing and Graduate Study Rooms in Hillman Library. It not only will be a place for graduate and professional students to congregate and collaborate, but it also will have graduate student resources that students may otherwise not know where to get.

This initiative stemmed from the Graduate and Professional Student Government (GPSG), working primarily with Nathan Urban, vice provost for graduate studies, and Dean of Students Kenyon Bonner.

“A huge important part of grad school is networking with peers. We wanted to create a space where people could collaboratively create as a group,” Rachel Coombs, president of GPSG, told Pittwire at the opening of a new lounge on Jan. 27. “We’ve been working toward this for at least two years. It’s exciting and really rewarding to see the whole University stepping out to meet grad students’ needs.”

In addition, since many grad students serve as teaching assistants for undergrads, some wanted a place to prepare for classes and evaluate work. “It was requested that there was a space where grad students could go where they wouldn’t run into their students as they’re grading papers,” Coombs said to Pittwire. 

Only graduate and professional students have access to the lounge, which is complete with a flat screen TV, worktable space with outlets, couches, chairs and other amenities. There are talks for adding a fridge, microwave, cable TV and a gaming system. 

Ways to reserve the lounge are being developed, but for now, Coombs said, students can email GPSG to coordinate something specific. Otherwise, it’s open for drop-ins.


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