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Montclair State College of Science and Mathematics Hosts Town Hall

by David Bien-Aime

On Tuesday, April 23, The College of Sciences and Mathematics (CSAM) held a Town Hall in Richardson Hall for CSAM students. This Town Hall meeting gave students a platform to voice their concerns, ask for any academic clarifications and suggest ways to improve their learning and social experience.

The Dean of CSAM, Lora Billings, led the meeting, giving the students an update on new additions coming to the Science and Mathematics buildings.

As asked in the previous Town Hall, CSAM students have been more vocal about wanting more social spaces to gather to do work and collaborate with others. In response to this request, the third floor of Schmitt Hall is currently being renovated to help improve students’ work spaces. Room 327 is being upgraded, combining inspiration from the graduate lounge and multi-purpose room.

“What we’re going to do is remove some of the standard, rectangular shaped classroom-learning style tables and make half of the room more collaborative with comfortable seatings and pods,” Billings said.

Room 327 will have space for comfortable seating, pods, white boards and more. It is a space that allows students to practice poster sessions or presentations.

Room 329 also plans to improve, with the backroom upgrading lights and adding comfortable bean bag chairs, helping students feel more relaxed and less stressed when studying.

“What we’re trying to do is create a space for students to be creative and to work together for them to spread their success,” Billings said. “This has been requested specifically in previous Town Halls and the Student Government Association has been very loud that this is something that will help the students.”

The Student Government Association (SGA) worked with the head facility to upgrade students. Room 329 will contain a space called Innovation and Design Incubator, a space that allows students to meditate and help them recharge. It will also improve the access students have to equipment, giving them an innovation space. Students will have access to 3D printers, laser cutters and more.

The Schmitt Hall renovation has begun and will be finished by the end of the summer. The fall of 2024 will have a grand opening of these new designs. This space emphasizes students’ creativity and mental health.

Mental health for students has been one of the main focus areas the SGA has been prioritizing. They are working with deans from across different departments to find ways to take stress off students and create a healthier learning environment.

Gianella Solorzano, the director of academic affairs for the SGA emphasized mental health issues among students.

“Right now a major concern across all the departments on campus is mental health issues for students,” Solorzano said. “The board of SGA are working with Dean Billings to implement the inside of Schmitt so all students around campus are able to get that opportunity to relax.”

The Town Hall discussed the many ways students of the CSAM can build connections with their professors by encouraging them to communicate, ask questions and take opportunities that are presented. It is never too early to get involved in the science field.

Students are encouraged to build their college resume by getting involved through research with professors or working in labs if chosen. They made clear that actively searching for programs and resume builders pushes students out of their comfort zone while simultaneously getting you connections with others outside of a classroom.

Pushing for students to get more involved has been a great help to other professors, with them receiving lab assistance benefiting both parties. Students who attended the Town Hall voiced their thoughts on how they feel CSAM has helped students when it comes to addressing issues and getting involved in their area of study.

Peter Tayo, a senior biology major believes CSAM is doing well.

“I feel that the College of Sciences and Mathematics are doing pretty well,” Tayo said. “Having these meetings where students get to come in and talk to the Deans. I’m glad students get to talk to the deans and get their voices out so they can make changes on campus.”

Anshu Rana, a sophomore biochemistry commented on the machinery within CSAM.

“[CSAM has] some advanced machines,” Rana said. “They’ve been helping students a lot. The work is tough, but they’ve helped us find research. I’m going to do my own research in the summer.”

There will be a lot of changes students should be looking out for in the Fall 2024 semester.

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