Photo Courtesy of Matthew Johns

An open floor plan fosters communication and particpation among student organizations.

Feb. 4, 2019

Engineering student org office sparks collaborative efforts

The Cleveland State University Washkewicz College of Engineering opened a new student organization office last semester aimed at fostering a collaborative work environment.

Unveiled in the mid-to-late part of the fall 2018 semester, the new, modern-looking offices feature glass walls and an open floor plan to allow different student organizations to work together and easily communicate about current and prospective projects.

The office provides desks, chairs, sofas, computers, bookcases and other furniture and appliances to aid the engineering school’s student organizations.

Maggie Kolovich, president of the Cleveland State chapter of American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), said her student organization uses the space for a variety of organization matters, such as collaborating on research proposals and, more specifically, building quadcopters. AIAA also uses the space for meetings, membership management and event planning.

Speaking about the open floor plan, Kolovich added that the concept is beneficial for all student organizations in terms of communication.

“Students are knowledgeable about other organizations and events they may not have otherwise known about,” Kolovich said. “The open floor plan fosters an effective environment for communication and participation.”

However, the spacious office allows for more than just communication between student organizations. Nandini Padaraju, president of Cleveland State’s chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), said project collaboration is also possible thanks to the new office.

“As we all represent the college of engineering, it allows us to easily communicate our events and projects with different organizations and generally create a flow of ideas,” Padaraju said.

“With this kind of design,” she continued, “we become aware of what other organizations are currently working on and what areas they need help with, if need be. I would definitely say the open floor plan aids in the growth of our engineering school and overall culture.”

While the student chemical engineering group hasn’t fully utilized the area yet outside of chapter meetings, Padaraju said she regularly visits to see what other organizations are working on.

Cleveland State’s chapter of the Society of Women Engineers hasn’t yet used the office to a great extent, but Vice President Dorothy Zhao said the organization still sees a benefit from the new office.

Zhao said when the organization moved from the old location, its members found items they did not know they had. Because of this, the chapter was able to become more organized. She also remarked that the office is a great place to store materials for meetings, as well as upcoming events or projects.

Zhao also noted that appliances such as the microwave and refrigerator are extremely helpful for commuter students. On that same note, she said she thinks the office is most beneficial to organizations that have a large commuter student presence.


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