Photo by EMMA GROSSBAUER
Earlier this month, Alma College unveiled the “Our Time is Now” fundraising campaign. This project has a goal of raising 120 million dollars to fund various projects such as renovating the Dunning Memorial Chapel and transforming the Kerhl Library into a Learning Commons.
While the campaign was only recently made public however, there has already been over 100 million dollars raised while the campaign was being developed. These funds have already been in use to facilitate renovations on campus.
“All of the projects completed thus far in the campaign are already in operation,” said Dr. Matt Vandenberg, Vice President of Advancement. Some of these projects include the renovations to north campus halls, the Opera House and three Fraternity Scholar Houses.
Future renovation projects will serve to repurpose the current Kerhl Library into a Learning Commons that will serve the needs of the 21st century. Vandenberg described it as a “versatile new hub of learning and activity.”
Modernizing the library aims to give the space a new life. The project description cites that the current building has a “confusing entry sequence, and interior spaces are difficult for students, faculty, and staff to navigate and fully utilize.”
Students are excited about the future changes, “I think that the project is a great thing for Alma College. There are definitely a lot of areas of campus that need repairs or renovations at the current time,” said Brooke Fornetti (’21).
“I think that these projects will change the college slightly by opening up more possible spaces for events and maybe attracting more people to come to the library or chapel,” said Fornetti.
Updating the college is one of the main goals of the campaign, and a focal point for students. “I also think it will make the college look more ‘up-to-date’ and modern, which may help bring in more potential students,” said Fornetti.
Vandenberg has similar views on the intent of the campaign. “Every project we undertake aims to enhance the overall experience of current and future students,” he said.
However, there is some concerns on campus that much needed renovations are being overlooked at this time. “While I agree that the library and chapel do need work, one thing that I really think that needs it is South Campus dorms, particularly Brazell/ Nisbet and Bonbright/ Carey Halls,” said Fornetti.
Almost every other housing option has been more recently updated than these four South Campus halls. “With all of the renovations that have been completed on all of the North Campus dorms, you would think that the next logical thing to do would be to also renovate South as well” said Fornetti.
Vandenberg noted that the success of the campaign was reliant on the willingness of donors to help better the college, “Donor support has an enormously positive influence on students, yet the benefits of philanthropy are not necessarily always immediately visible or obvious.”
He explained that every facility on Alma’s campus was either built or improved by the help of donors. However, that is not the extent of their impact on campus, “Donors also provide student scholarships, fortify our endowment, and enrich a wide array of athletic teams and student organizations” said Vandenberg.