Virginia Tech alumni, graduate students and staff all gathered in the Graduate Life Center’s multipurpose room last Friday to celebrate its fifth anniversary.
The GLC was originally the Donaldson Brown Hotel and Conference Center. With the opening of the Inn at Virginia Tech, the vacated building became the new location for the graduate school, which had been housed in Sandy Hall.
Karen DePauw, vice president and dean for graduate education, has been working in the GLC since the time of its conversion.
“We had an opportunity to create this unique center,” DePauw said.
The GLC officially opened to students in August 2005, although it was still undergoing multiple renovations.
Since the opening of the GLC, graduate students have been able to claim a place of their own on campus. The GLC houses 110 graduate students, in furnished single or double rooms. Other features of the GLC include an auditorium, various meeting rooms, a video conference room, a graduate student lounge, a multipurpose room and the plaza and an amphitheater located outside.
“The GLC has provided a space and a place for graduate students to interact with the community as graduate students,” DePauw said.
The GLC houses different academic, social and cultural events throughout the year. These events encourage graduate students to interact with each other and the community.
Although called the “Graduate Life Center,” the building is used for undergraduates as well. The auditorium and multiple other rooms are used for undergraduate level classes and corps activities.
Although the GLC has proved to be beneficial to students at Tech, it has seen misfortune. A murder took place in the Au Bon Pain in the GLC in January of 2009.
“It was very unfortunate,” DePauw said. “The graduate community and residents tried to reclaim the space with all due respect to the victim. A strong sense of community helped everyone get through that time.”
To celebrate the anniversary, there were various activities set up in the multipurpose room. Guests could view a slideshow of graduate students' pictures that described their everyday life. Prizes were given to those knowledgeable of the GLC, tested through a quiz.
One of the favorite stations was the “dream wall.” Students and faculty could write down their aspirations for the GLC in the future.
Some of the frequent responses were for there to be more social events, more food options, better parking arrangements, a place where graduate students can consume adult beverages and a daycare service to be provided for graduate students with children.
Halfway through the event, DePauw addressed the guests.
“What you see today are the voices of the graduate students,” DePauw said. “There is nothing like it in the nation.”
In her speech, DePauw thanked all the contributors to the GLC. “Outstanding GLC Contributor” awards were given out to those organizations that have offered their services to the GLC. Cook Counseling Center, which has provided its services for the past two years and Career Services, which has provided its services and set up workshops for the past five years, were the two recipients of the award.
Superlatives were also awarded to select graduate students. These superlatives ranged from “Most Studious GLC Patron” and “GLC Biker Award” to “Most Reservations in the GLC.”
“This is student affairs and academic parts coming together," Depauw said. "It is a delight to see what it is now and what it is becoming."