The Point bringing student organizations together

students meetingSUNY Oswego’s student organizations have a new place to call home. Room 101 in the Campus Center, named The Point, is the new hub for the Student Association and many clubs and organizations.

“The Point contains SA clubs and organizations, the senate, judicial branch, executive branch, easy access and is a gathering place for most meetings,” said Christina Ballesteros, SA director of communications. “It’s a bigger space, with greater student involvement, more passion as well as compassion.”

The SA and Student Organization Services offices were previously located on the second floor of Hewitt Union and offered little in the way of extra space. “In Hewitt, our offices were way out of the way on the second floor and the services we provided were very limited,” said Mike Paestella, assistant director of campus life and SOS coordinator.

While The Point’s new main office is more modern than previous spaces, many questions preceded the move, such as whether it would be able to effectively house as many organizations as hoped. Ballesteros said she believes it achieved its goal. “It’s not just another room, it’s an opportunity for all to come together and grow,” she said.

Built to accommodate many student organizations while still being an open and inviting space, The Point offers three types of office setups. Type A is a true office with locking doors assigned to specific organizations. Type B offices are modern workstation cubicles assigned to organizations. Type C spaces are first-come, first-served computer workstations available to groups who do not have assigned offices.

“The open space helps with communication,” Ballesteros said. “You’re in a more intimate setting where you’re encouraged to have face-to-face communication. Being able to turn around and have SA clubs and organizations right there with you is uplifting.”

Groups operating in The Point include the Asian Student Association, Latino Student Union, African Student Organization, Caribbean Student Association, Black Student Union, Women’s Center, Student Association Programming Board, National Broadcast Society, Jewish Student Union, Biology Club, Mentor Oswego, Del Sarte, Storyteller’s Guild, fraternities and sororities, and dozens of other organizations of varying sizes and missions.

The Point has allowed SA and its organizations to better understand each other and their needs. “I feel as though I have become closer with each individual in this area,” Ballesteros said.

Paestella said he sees a gelling of the student community. “SA officers, directors, senators all now have a space to engage with and interact with the officers and members of student organizations who utilize The Point,” he said. “The old office complex in Hewitt did not lend itself to these types of interactions.”

Everyone involved said The Point has allowed Oswego students to effectively participate in their organizations while creating positive communication bonds among each others’ groups.

“The Point is a wonderful facility, and you will not find such a well-thought-out, student-centered space to meet the needs of student organizations on many campuses at this time,” Paestella said. “SUNY Oswego has set an example for other campuses to follow as they develop student organization spaces on their campuses.”

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PHOTO CAPTION: ‘Point’ work—SUNY Oswego senior psychology major Durrell Queen of Phi Beta Sigma fraternity and senior public relations major Amanda Rosa, president of the Latino Student Union, talk last week at The Point, the new student organization office and activity space in the Campus Center.

(Posted: Nov 14, 2007)