Student Activities Plans for Ryley Room Alternatives

Students will lose a prime student hang-out spot, the Ryley Room, when it closes for Commons’ 15-month renovation. In an effort to replace the Ryley Room, the Student Activities Board (SAB) will help to revamp the Underwood Room and George Washington Hall (GW). Director of Student Activities Cynthia Efinger said that the SAB hopes that Underwood Room will “essentially be the new Ryley.” Once the Ryley Room closes, all of its furniture will be sent over to Underwood. A stage will be set up with lights and DJ equipment, and the television from Ryley will also move to Underwood. No hot food can be served in Underwood due to safety regulations, but Efinger is trying to get vending machines nearby in the Kemper Auditorium entrance area. GW will receive new furniture and a flat-screen television. According to Efinger, two circular couches and four large studying tables will all be added to the mailroom area. A new big-screen television will be turned on at 5 p.m. every day. Efinger believes that this new layout will encourage kids to use GW as a group study location, an individual study location and a hangout spot. Upon hearing the plans for GW, Carl Jackson ’09 said, “I was very disappointed that the GW renovations weren’t completed for this fall, but I’m happy that it is all finally getting done and I’m excited about having a TV.” The current goal is for the Underwood Room and GW projects to be complete when students return from winter vacation in early January. To mark the opening of these spots on campus, the Student Activities Board is planning a coffee house with a special guest performer. One final component is the stationing of a food truck near Elson Art Center. The food truck will serve a variety of menu options to replace the concessions sold in the Ryley Room. Student Activities is still reviewing a few companies to run the food truck. As of now, the types of foods that will be served have not been announced. Aside from concessions, the food truck will also provide free breakfast to students in the Pine Knoll and Abbot clusters upon presentation of school ID. This breakfast offering will be an alternative to the longer walk across campus to the temporary dining facility in Smith Rink. The truck will also be ready at the start of winter term. Ms. Efinger encourages students with ideas for the Underwood Room or GW to communicate with her or other members of Student Activities Board anytime. In the past, the Ryley Room has served as a location for kids to attend weekend events, purchase food or hang out with friends in front of the widescreen TV. As for updates on the Commons and the Smith Rink renovations, OPP will not release any information on the projects at this time. In a September 21 Gazette article, Director of Facilities Michael Williams wrote, “We realize that students, faculty and staff have many questions – both general and specific – about the operational changes and alternative arrangements made necessary by the Commons renovation project…Most issues should be resolved by mid-October, at which time we will provide detailed Q&A information to all via the Gazette and PAnet.”