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Inside the Industry: News & Awards

By Selena Fragassi


Sonoma State University Has New Center of Attention
Within three hours of opening last November, the brand-new Sonoma State University Student Center in Rohnert Park, California welcomed more than 2,000 students, faculty, staff and community members who were curious to check out the updated amenities offered inside. Included are six meeting rooms with advanced A/V technology, multiple dining venues including the campus pub Lobos and the dining hall Kitchens, as as the piece de resistance: the largest ballroom in the county. Both students and conference guests are welcome to use the building, which offers a more centralized facility to meet, eat and relax.

George Mason University Builds Up Design Awards
This was a big year for the Living & Learning Community Residence Hall and Dining Facility at the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation (SMSC). Located in Front Royal, Virginia and part of the George Mason University campus, this state-of-the-art facility was awarded LEED Gold Certification for its sustainable design and took home an honor from the Design-Build Institute of America. Other newly constructed buildings onsite include advanced classrooms and lab facilities, residential center and a flexible-use dining and event venue.

More Beds Will Be Made at Emory University in 2014
May 2014 marks a significant achievement at Atlanta, Georgia’s Emory University. The opening of the brand-new LEED Gold Certified Eleonore Raoul Hall (named for the first female graduate of the university’s law school) will be the sixth residence hall to open in seven years. The completed construction will offer nearly 350 additional beds for summer conference guests. Options will include single and double rooms with a sizable number of semi-suites that feature private bathrooms. Also inside the hall will be a two-story event space with attached catering kitchen as well as the centrally located office spaces for the University Conferences department.

Great Minds Think Alike in New Washington College Campaign
President George Washington set the standard when he visited his namesake college in the 18th century—but he’s just one of the first. Since it opened in 1782, many of the world’s great ideologists have visited the Chestertown, Maryland campus. That history is the inspiration behind the school’s new Great Minds Meeting campaign, aimed at planners looking for a site that can help generate some serious brainpower for meetings, retreats, banquets or other events. State-of-the-art academic buildings and various venues help foster a place of learning, while the Dining Services department offers new customizable catering guides to provide healthy brain food between sessions.

Kenyon Institute Touts Award-Winning, User-Friendly Website
EduStyle, a web design gallery and resource dedicated to higher education websites, recently awarded a big honor to The Kenyon Institute, part of Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. The school won the prestigious award for “Best School, Department or Faculty Site” in both the Judged and People’s Choice categories. EduStyle hosts more than 6,000 websites with a community of more than 4,000 active users, making Kenyon’s win even more impressive. With this nod, planners can look forward to a website that is navigable and easy to use.

Vanderbilt’s Alumni Hall Graduates with Honorable Renovations
Originally opened in 1925 as the first student center, Vanderbilt University’s Alumni Hall was recently added to the National Register of Historic Places. With that noted accolade, the Nashville, Tennessee university got to work on rehabbing the space to make it usable for future generations. The renovations maintain the integrity of the building’s collegiate Gothic style, while also updating the interior spaces and expanding the east and west side terraces.

Art Has a New Home at Penn State Great Valley Campus
The Conference Center at Penn State Great Valley now has an art gallery with rotating exhibits. The Henry Gallery was opened in the spring and provides respite for conference guests (and the public) Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Recent shows at the Malvern, Pennsylvania venue include “Parts of a Whole Mosaic” as well as the “Darkness to Light” student mural and the “Story Quilts” exhibit.