Photos by Lindsey Sullivan
After over a year of planning and renovating, the new Student Assistance Center (SAC) will officially open Friday, Sept. 6.
The relocated SAC can be found in the building just above the Center for Communications and Business (CCB) on Seaver Drive. The building will now house the Health Center, the Counseling Center, the Office of Student Accessibility (OSA), and Housing and Residence Life (HRL), all under one roof.
Project Manager Lori Tooker said she believes the move will be a great one for students.
“I think it will be easier for students to be able to go from department to department rather than having to go across campus,” Tooker said. “This can be a one-stop place for all of the students’ needs, and a nice environment for them too.”
While the official name is the Student Assistance Center, Executive Director of Student Accessibility Sandra Harrison said the departments have another name in mind.
“We are calling it the ‘Student Awesome Center’ because we empower our students with what they need,” Harrison said.
The building features a variety of new amenities, including two gender-neutral bathrooms in addition to the gender-specific ones, sound-masking emitter technology to protect student confidentiality, a larger test-taking room, brand new equipment and lab facilities for health services and greater square footage for all of the departments.
In the event of the fire, the SAC is designed to still be operational with a backup generator that can power the entire building, allowing the services housed there to continue to function, Tooker said.
Directors of the project have been working closely with the campus shuttle service to ensure students can access the building with ease. If anyone encounters difficulty getting to the new space due to disability, contact the Department of Public Safety (DPS) at the ext. 4442 for a ride. For those walking, it is a 9-to-12 minute walk from main campus to the SAC, Harrison said.
Director of Housing Operations Robin Gore said the HRL office will be introducing remote lock-out assistance for residents who might find the SAC inconvenient to access. In order to utilize the service, Gore said students must set up their own security questions through the Housing Portal prior to their first lockout.
As the four departments finally come together in one localized building, Harrison discusses what she hopes the SAC will be for students.
“I hope that over the course of their time at Pepperdine, students can have the grace for themselves and for others to know that we are all human, and that humans need different levels of support and help at different stages of their lives,” Harrison said. “We welcome people to affiliate with us for a season, if they need that support.”
Amid the anticipation for the first day of operation, Harrison welcomes students of all kinds to become a part of what the SAC is doing.
“We see disability as a big part of Pepperdine’s appreciation of diversity,” Harrison said. “We are richer because there are students here who think differently, walk differently, create differently. So, we feel like the disability community here is a gift to Pepperdine. We are excited to help liaison, and make sure that all of the space is accessible to them.”
The SAC will be hosting an open house for students Friday, Oct. 11, from 1 to 3 p.m. with games and refreshments provided.
Email Lindsey Sullivan: Lindsey.firstname.lastname@example.org