CULC organizers host furniture expo

Planners and organizers showcased potential furniture selections for the Clouch Undergraduate Learning Center (CULC) on March 11 and 12 at the Student Center Ballroom. The open house featured a number of furnishings that the planners are considering. The event offered the students the chance to see and experience the furniture first hand as well as give feedback to the CULC’s interior designers and consultants.

The furniture feature is intended to be used in the classrooms, labs, lounges and study halls of the CULC building which is currently under construction. Samples included desks that had options of having sockets for students with laptops, chairs for classroom and study areas with mobile functionalities similar to ones found in the library or in the Management building. There was also a variety of sofas and tables similar in appearance to what is currently found at the Student Center.

Student feedback was heavily encouraged at the expo. Surveys were handed out and several interior designers were also present as well discussing the furniture with attendees. Several student participants offered their thoughts on the available furniture and advice on potential functionalities future furniture could employ. These responses might not be limited to just the CULC either.

“We need feedback on if it’s comfortable, how it would feel if you were studying and sitting for a long period of time or maybe if just for a short duration like at a seat near a café. One student here talked about the necessity of adequate back support for chairs in case you have to study in it for a long time,” said Allison Hondroulis, a furniture consultant with Smallwood, Reynolds, Stewart, Stewart & Associates. “These selections could be implemented into other projects based on student feedback.”

Organizers say that the furniture featured at the open house were just a peek at what other offerings may be in store.

“The furniture [at the expo] is just a sampling of various pieces,” Houndrollis said. “There might be more mockups in the future for students to see… There are changes in technology, advances in functionality in furniture. So seeing as [the CULC will be] the most innovative building on campus, currently we’re trying to do the most innovative furniture on the market. And this pertains to ergonomics, aesthetics, fabrics and other finishes.”

“Expos could also be done for future buildings. Buildings pertaining to classes would obviously have the focus be on students. Other buildings related to research would of course receive input from researchers, scientists and faculty,” said Alicia Stryker, facilities planner in Capital Space Planning.

CULC organizers are also pushing for further student involvement in the CULC construction process through new initiatives and events in the next coming weeks. Within the next few weeks, organizers will be releasing a new website at, which will provide construction updates, renderings, webcams and links to all of the campus services that will be housed in the building (i.e.: OIT, Undergraduate Studies, advising, tutoring and so on). Students may also get a chance to select a new nickname for the building.

“We are also looking for ideas to rename the building. Basically, we want to have a more student-friendly and catchy nickname than the ‘CULC’ or ‘Clough Building,’” said Craig Rawe, CULC coordinator. “Such as the ‘Academic Commons at the Clough Building’ but with a more trendy name than that. Students will be able to submit input/ideas via our new website or my email.”

According to an update in late January, the CULC is on track to complete construction by the end of summer 2011.