BY FLORI NEEDLE ’20
Mount Holyoke’s stated goal in renovating Blanchard is to create a space in which intellectual and social interactions can happen at once. According to the Mount Holyoke website, most of the $50 million renovations will be completed in the spring of 2018. However, some of the changes to Blanchard happened over the summer of 2017.
A noticeable change for the classes of 2018 and 2019 was that their mailboxes, previously located on the middle level of Blanchard, were relocated to Auxiliary Services. In their place is the Unity Center, a meeting room created with the intention of being a space to host open conversations about culture and diversity on campus and in the world.
The former campus store space, also located on the middle level, has now been renovated and converted to the student life hub, which houses advising, residential life, student government, diversity programming and religious life. Moving student life to this spot was done to “not only symbolically but physically center students at the heart of the campus, and allow the division of student life to be ever more visible and available to all students,” said Alicia Erwin, the director of Student Programs.
Annabelle Plowden ’20 was surprised to learn about all the different departments that were to be housed in the new suite, as she had never heard of most of them. “It’s cool that they are putting these departments that directly relate to the way students live at Mount Holyoke in the center of campus,” said Plowden. “They become more accessible and maybe students will become more involved in coordinating with student life.”
Aside from the creation of new spaces, new furniture has also been brought into Blanch, which students were given the option to test out during the spring semester of 2017. Reviews for this new furniture from Mount Holyoke students are mixed, as some find it aesthetically pleasing and comfortable, while others disagree. Students voiced their opinions on new Blanchard furniture through Facebook polls. Here’s what they said: