Students, faculty discuss student union design

The Newtonite

by Jared Perlo
Coming off of a restful vacation, the Student Faculty Administration has been working on designing and developing the cafeteria’s student union.
The student union has been the SFA’s main focus since the beginning of the school year. Senior Caleb Bromberg, SFA student co-chair, and librarian and English teacher Kevin McGrath, faculty co-chair, have continued to advocate for a student “hang out” area.
After establishing a new subcommittee expressly for the purpose of transforming the student union from an idea to a tangible reality, members have continued examining logistics and possible ideas for the student union.
One suggested idea is the installation of Plexiglass panels in the student union on which students could share ideas and post information about school events and activities.
Price immediately expressed skepticism, saying, “What would be the positive component of it?”
English teacher and chief innovation officer Stephen Chinosi, a major proponent of the idea, said he thought it would be a “really neat, interactive way to communicate.”
The meeting two weeks ago also dealt with the logistics and physical construction of the area. As of now, the SFA is purchasing six sets of new tables and chairs to line the row of windows on the side of the cafeteria alcove.
There are also plans to build counters to mark most of the union’s perimeter, which will be built by the carpentry classes.
However, despite all of this progress, several members expressed doubt and uncertainty of the union’s success. They wondered why students would hang out in the cafeteria when they could go to the library.
Chinosi argued the counterpoint, saying that students need to learn the rules of a campus, partly in preparation for college.
“You can study in a college student union, you can’t play cards in the library,” he said, noting that college libraries are not social places and are instead meant for quiet research and studying.
During this week’s meeting, members mainly discussed how to construct the union in an aesthetically pleasing way.
Price suggested that banners depicting the school’s motto and core values, which hang outside the old school, be used to decorate the area.
Two community activists from the non-profit organization Beautiful Newtonville, which works to upgrade and beautify the village, sat in on the meeting and suggested a few ideas.
Beautiful Newtonville volunteer Cheryl Santee suggested that this school improve its involvement with the community, including participating in NewtonSERVES, a city-wide community service day in late April.