Student center opens on West Bank

by Jennifer Mayotte

Students whose classes are exclusively on the West Bank no longer have to cross the Washington Avenue Bridge to register.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday heralded the official opening of the Student Services Center, which offers students phones and a computer for registration. Officials said they are planning to expand the number of computers in the coming months.
The new center, which is located between Blegen and Willey halls in the skyway, is designed to provide students with a more efficient way to fulfill basic registration needs, said speakers at the ceremony.
Students can use the center to check their grades, get official or unofficial transcripts and check on course availability. Online information on financial aid is also accessible.
Office counselors are on hand to answer questions about concerns like registration and graduation; for example, staff members can aid in writing petitions to the University administration.
University President Mark Yudof said this new service center will help the University to “organize itself in terms of convenience,” adding that it will provide West Bank students with “one common, functional interface.”
Students on the West Bank have been forced to perform their essential student activities on the East Bank, stretching tight schedules even further.
“I think it’ll be great for students to have things physically close,” said senior Sam Tuttle, who is also legislative chair of the Minnesota Student Association.
“Until now, people who had classes or lived on West Bank had to make a special trip,” Tuttle said. “Now they can fit stuff between their classes.”
For Sara Deck, a student who recently had to clear up some problems with a hold on her record before she could register, the service was helpful. It meant she could check her records, then call to get further information, without having to take half a day to visit an office in person, only to get sent somewhere else.
“At least this office was here and could help me with my questions,” Deck said.
The Student Services Center is intended to be a “one-stop shopping experience,” for students who need to register on the West Bank, said Mary Koskan, associate director in the Office of the Registrar.
Koskan said the University has been working for nearly 10 months to get the new center open. She added that the center is meant to accent the services already provided to students online.
“Of course, students can still use the Web, but walk-in services will need to be continued,” she said. “Eventually, we’d like have these types of centers all over campus.” Koskan said the University is currently discussing opening another student services center .
The new center is open Monday through Thursday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.