Students returned to campus to find that a number of changes had been made to several buildings.
Following a string of thefts that hit various tower rooms last year, three card-access doors—two in the lobby and one in the basement—have been installed. The new doors restrict elevator access to authorized students, faculty and staff, according to Director of Safety and Security Randy Nichols.
"These doors are designed to give the tower's residential floors the same level of access control as other residence halls on campus," Nichols wrote in an email to the Orient.
Nichols wrote that the Tower has always presented access control challenges because it is a multi-use facility containing administrative offices on the first and second floors.
"This upgrade allows access to the textbook store and offices while isolating elevator access," wrote Nichols.
"[The doors] are serving a purpose because I know there were a lot of thefts last year in some rooms just because of the lack of security," said tower resident Caroline Ciocca '12. "I was surprised by them when I got back, but I don't think they're too much of an inconvenience."
"Before, anyone walking on the street could get into the Tower so if they got into any room, they [had] free range," said Ciocca.
Nichols wrote that the entire project cost approximately $22,000, which covered the installation of three doors, wall construction, a new sprinkler, and electrical and card access hardware.
"These doors provide a secure layer of protection during business hours when the main lobby doors are unlocked, and a double layer of security after business hours," wrote Nichols.
Moulton Hall's light room is sporting a new look. Last year's collection of small tables has been replaced by three rows of longer tables resembling those in Thorne Hall, and a new counter has been installed along the back wall.
According to Director of Dining Services Mary Lou Kennedy, space has always been an issue in Moulton.
"We see students wandering around with their trays looking for places to sit down," said Kennedy.
Kennedy worked with Unit Manager of Moulton Dining Lester Prue, Associate Director of Dining Ken Cardone, and Facilities Project Managers Dan Welsch and Ted Stam over the summer to create the new seating plan.
The shift created 28 new seats augmenting the dining hall's capacity to 380 students.
"As freshmen we often eat in big groups with our floors," Alana Menendez '15 said. "It's convenient to have long tables so that we don't have to separate."
"I like the stools on the back wall because it's good for studying while eating breakfast alone," said first year Jackson Bloch.
While first years seem to enjoy the new layout—whether it's because they are unfamiliar with the old setting or because it reminds them of their high school cafeterias—many other students are not pleased with the change.
"It was a lot cozier with the small tables," said Minnie Kim '14. "Now I feel like I'm in a high school cafeteria."
"They need to change it back to how it was before," said Raven Seymone Johnson '13. "They didn't ask for student input or conduct any surveys, they just did it over the summer."
Johnson also mourned the lack of privacy. "Anyone can sit next to you and listen to your conversations now," she said.
Cardone noted that the new seating arrangement appears to be more convenient for the cleaning crew.
"They would always have to move the tables and wind around," he said. "Now they can make use of the cleaning machines."
"We would do anything to keep our students happy," said Prue. "It's also important to provide a good work environment for our staff."
Over the summer, the offices of Health Professions Advising, Student Fellowships and Research and Off-Campus Study (OCS) were relocated to the first floor of Kanbar Hall to maximize student access to those offices.
The previous locations of these offices will be converted into faculty offices, primarily for the government, history and economics departments.
In a campus wide email that was sent out on August 27, Dean for Academic Affairs Cristle Collins Judd wrote, "this new location provides a more convenient and coordinated home for these co-curricular advising services right down the hall from the curricular support services offered at the Center for Learning and Teaching."
"It makes a lot of sense to have our three offices together," said Director of Student Fellowships and Research Cindy Stocks, whose office used to be in Banister Hall located in the Chapel.
"Banister is in the center of campus and that's a great thing," said Stocks. "But a lot of people think it is in the McKeen Center, not Banister...Everybody knows where Kanbar is," she said.
The first floor of Kanbar Hall is also home to the Baldwin Center for Learning and Teaching (CLT) that offers programs such as peer mentoring and tutoring, study groups and study skills workshops.
"It enhances [a student's] academic experience through a variety of different needs clustered together," said Stocks.
According to Stocks, Room 110, where all three of the building's new organizations are located, is spacious and welcoming.
"I love the common area where students can hang out," she said.
Judd said that this set-up should help students navigate through different services more easily.
"What students will find is that their life is simplified in terms of getting the advice they need," she said.
Students who frequent the Bowdoin Express convenience store in Smith Union probably noticed that the shop underwent a major upgrade over the summer.
The most eye-catching change? The walls, once painted a nondescript color, are now a lively yellow. "I think it looks a lot fresher and lighter than it used to," noted Lily Rudd '12.
Many students have noticed a change in the quality of food sold. "It just seems a lot healthier—but that doesn't mean better," remarked Julie McCollough '14.
With the new organic and vegan options, however, people have also noticed a steeper price.
"I really like some of the new products, especially the healthier ones. At the same time, this means that some are more expensive, which isn't necessarily my favorite thing," said Lily Shapiro '12.
In terms of lay-out, not much has changed. There is one fewer aisle, which opens the space up. "I love the new layout," said Kate Kearns '14.