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Mercyhurst North East celebrates new student union

Monday, October 16, 2017 - 9:30am

When Keyman Asefi describes the new student union at Mercyhurst North East, he calls it a product of “emotional architecture.”

I dare you, says the Mercyhurst University architecture design instructor, to enter that space and not feel something: energy, vitality; there’s even a corner for contentment.

“These kinds of spaces shape who we are,” said Asefi in describing the newly renovated student union that will be dedicated on Wednesday, Oct. 18, at 11:30 a.m. The union is situated in the lower level of Miller Hall. 

Mercyhurst President Michael Victor and his cabinet will hold their weekly meeting that morning on the North East campus, then join members of the MNE community for the grand opening. A pizza party for the community will follow.

“This is a special occasion for all of us, but particularly our students, who are really excited about having this unique space to call their own,” said MNE Vice President David Hyland.

Michelle Simpson, director of student life at MNE, said students are eagerly anticipating the unveiling. "There has been a lot of chatter from the students about what the new space will be like and their ideas are as quirky as Keyman's design. I believe this is exactly the type of space that they are craving." 

Asefi, meanwhile, expressed his design vision like this: “I tried to shape an environment on multiple levels where students could hang out together, or be on their own; a place where they could feel motivated and creative. The design features random platforms where you can sit or stretch out. Either way, you create your own seating. There’s mini-golf and other games. There’s custom-built study pods where you can be alone. I used vibrant colors and floor-to-ceiling glass that lets in lots of natural light, and there’s green turf on the walls to absorb sound.”

President Victor said he is duly impressed with the transformation of what was previously a dark and uninviting space, and credited Asefi’s creativity, along with project management by Hyland and Vice President for Finance & Administration David Myron.