BY KATHLEEN STUBBS
Several upgrades have been made on Franciscan University’s campus regarding open house hours, additional walkways on campus, late night and meal plans, and renovations in the first floor of the cafeteria.
Open house hours changed from Fridays from 6-10 p.m. and Sundays from 1-5 p.m. to the more extended hours of Fridays 7-11 p.m., Saturdays 7-11 p.m., and Sundays from 1-5 p.m.
Luke Kozak, junior, lives in St. Louis Hall and recalled making use of open house hours.
“I have used open house hours fairly frequently in the past, particularly on Fridays because Sundays I’m usually busy. … I feel like people will take much more advantage of [open house hours on Saturdays], because … it’s much easier to pick a day that you could socialize with people inside the dorms” Kozak said.
Jude Larkin, junior, also lives in St. Louis Hall, and said, “When you want to hang out with a member of the opposite gender it becomes really hard to find a space. It’s really just convenient, because it really doesn’t hurt anyone having the doors open at more times.”
Larkin attended the forum hosted by student government and led by David Schmiesing, vice president of student life, in March. After the idea was introduced, the Rev. Sean Sheridan, president of Franciscan University, had to approve the hours before they could be changed.
“I’m really glad that Sheridan is on board with the idea,” Larkin said.
Kimberly Ruskamp, junior and resident in St. Elizabeth Hall, has positive thoughts about the new hours.
“The changes were a good improvement, with a good intention,” Ruskamp said. “It’s a good change, and I’m OK with it.”
Ruskamp, a member of Gaudete in Via Crucis household, said the philosophy behind open house hours was emphasized by student life.
“Mr. Schmiesing talked to household coordinators about the philosophy of open house hours,” Ruskamp said. “He said the point is that people can come and go, that it’s not uncomfortable for other people.”
Catherine Heck, assistant vice president of student life at Franciscan, also emphasized the philosophy behind open house hours, which were instated by former president the Rev. Michael Scanlan.
“This was Fr. Mike [Scanlan]’s philosophy, he gave a challenge to student life,” Heck said. “It was so important to him, that students didn’t just view this as a place to couple up and be alone, and follow the trend of what was happening in other colleges [in 1980].”
In addition to changes to student life policy, other upgrades include improving and adding walkways.
David Owens, grounds manager at Franciscan, said the side walk heading from St. Thomas More Hall to the JC Williams Center steps, and the walkway on the south side of the library down toward the chapel were both replaced.
Students may have noticed that some of the brick in the walkways of Egan plaza look different than last year.
“One other area we did over this past summer is the Egan plaza on the Starvaggi side of the building,” said Owens. “We removed all the brick and placed them with fired clay bricks that can hold up to the winter chemicals.”
Other changes include cafeteria services and meal plans at Franciscan. With meal exchanges, weekend meal exchanges can now be used on Fridays.
Late night cafeteria hours, formerly Sunday-Thursday, are now every night of the week. Late night is from 7: 30-11 p.m.
Doug Orr, general manager of call dining services on campus, said students held in the lobby of the cafeteria said that on Fridays, if they miss dinner in the cafeteria but have no meal exchanges, the only option is to order food to be delivered.
Upgrades to the first floor of the cafeteria include a new counter for the deli, pizza, and the beverage service stations.