Want to know what all the HUBbub is about on campus? Let’s start with a small slice of it. On the first floor of Van Meter (up the stairs to the left of the former Van) is the new Exploration HUB. It’s got new fancy couches, a positive atmosphere, and (coming soon) a 70-inch TV.
What is the HUB?
The HUB is a central location for all three offices on campus that deal directly with experiential learning:
- The Office of Community Based Learning (CBL) works to connect students with organizations within the greater Baltimore area with the intention of working with communities (instead of for them) in order to achieve the group’s stated goals. There are also CBL courses offered in the academic catalogue that formally teach CBL pedagogy. Student Leaders for Civic Action (SLCAs) serve as student stewards for specific programs, and are supported by staff that work for the CBL Office itself. As Zanabou Njie, an SLCA from the class of 2020 told me, she expects the HUB to serve as a central area for people to get experiential learning on campus. She also hopes that it will bring more attention to CBL, a theme I heard from each person I talked to at the HUB’s recent open house.
- The Career Education Center (CEO, formerly the CDO). Alex Steitz, class of 2021, told me, “[c]areer Mentors [Elizabeth Tran and I] primarily help students with résumés and cover letters in order to support them on their path to career and internship success. I assist students in navigating and utilizing the many fantastic resources the CEO has to offer regarding careers, networking, personal branding, major/curriculum advisement, events, professional experience, and more. I also help with the CEO’s social media. Follow @TheGoucherHub on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook!”
- The Office of International Studies (OIS) has all the information you need about studying abroad. As listed on their website, they offer required Study Abroad 101 sessions for semester long study abroad programs at 4 p.m. on Tuesdays and 11:30 a.m. on Thursdays. Interested in an Intensive Course Abroad? These programs, open to anyone currently enrolled in classes (hey there, first years!), have a required 101 session at 1:30 p.m. on Mondays and 4 p.m. on Thursdays. The application deadline for Summer 2019 ICAs is November 5th.
Why does the HUB make sense from an educational perspective?
Traci Martin, the Director of the CEO, described the HUB as a “student-friendly space” that brings together these three offices in such a way as to allow students to make connections between various experiential learning opportunities. It’s a space where “ideas come together,” according to Martin.
Lindsay Johnson, the Associate Director of Community-Based Learning and Community Service Programs, told me that her goal is to allow the HUB to “deepen some connections for student engagement in experiential learning.” The HUB came directly out a combination of student complaints regarding the isolation of the three offices and a collective desire to follow best practices both for CBL and career exploration. Instead of looking at students through a reduced lens of how they engage with one particular office on campus, the HUB allows its 16 full-time staff members and 25+ student workers to recognize individuals as the complete people they are, while also tracking their experiences throughout their time at Goucher. As Johnson describes it, the first two years for a student are all about asking questions: what programs are good fits for you? What would you like to get out of a CBL or internship or study abroad experience? What would you like to study, and where can those studies take you in the world? By the third and fourth year, the goal is for the HUB to interact with students as they collectively work to connect all the pieces of their collegiate experience into one cohesive whole. This includes spaces to reflect both before and after studying abroad.
Jenn Leard, the Associate Director of Career Advising & Student Engagement at the CEO, suggested that the HUB can be a place for storytelling, where students can share both the positive and challenging aspects of each of their experiences through each of the three offices. She described the HUB as a place for students to process their experiences and figure out how to move forward, while still “pausing to think.”
What to go to at the HUB:
Every Monday through Thursday, between 2-4 p.m., the HUB will be hosting drop-in advising hours. Walk in, talk to someone at the particular office you need advice on, and take off when you’re ready.
Every Friday, between 2-4 p.m., the HUB will be hosting Open Studios, a series of what Lindsay Johnson named “self-exploratory” activities (see photo).
Starting at the end of September, the CEO will reboot its legendary Friday Coffee Chats. These are casual conversations with alumnae where students can ask about where their life has taken them post-Goucher. Stay tuned for updates on when this series will start.
For those of you who skip to the end of articles, the HUB is an awesome space that just opened on the first floor of Van Meter. Bringing together the CEO, OIS, and Office of CBL, the HUB serves as a means of removing barriers that prevent students from getting off campus and experiencing the world beyond. Built directly out of student feedback and best practices, the HUB is an open space fostered with the intention of learning from one another outside of the classroom as a means of creating a better world together.
NOTE: The headline of this article was suggested by Zanabou Njie of The Office of Community Based Learning.