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The University celebrates the opening of the Imagine Center

Students, faculty and staff gathered to celebrate the official inauguration of the Imagine Center for Integrative Learning and Life Design November 14. The center, which has been open to students since September, houses the University’s seven career and professional development departments.

Throughout the day, students were invited to stop by the Imagine Center to participate in workshops and panels, as well as enjoy free food, games and prizes. A series of interactive events were held simultaneously to allow students to choose activities that correspond to their interests. These included finding a mentor, developing self-awareness, exploring research opportunities, getting the most out of LinkedIn, and connecting with staff from various career development departments.

Ashley Schantz, Associate Director of Life Design, highlighted the Life Design Lab (LDL) to have space on campus in an interview with The News-Letter.

“Presence is invaluable,” she said. “Having a building where students can create their own and find a space to connect with their peers, but also having a constant presence of curiosity and ideation around what is important to you, how you can serve your community and the best ways to apply your education is the epitome of what we hope higher education is.

Sophomore Kathleen Lac commented on the building’s features in an interview with The News-Letter.

“I like that the structure of the building is very open, free and lucid,” she said. “I know these topics can be stressful, but the fact that the building is so beautiful can bring some relief to the students.”

She hopes the building will act as a safe space for students that remains accessible so they can connect with faculty for advice and guidance.

Life Design Senior Educator Tessa McKenzie exemplified LDL’s shift in its approach to guiding students through her seven years working at Hopkins in an interview with The News-Letter.

“I like that it’s more holistic and that a different approach to higher education is reflected in this different model and design for a building,” she said. “Inclusiveness is a big part of that. The design of this building is intentionally very inclusive and we’re here to support people, regardless of your social capital, regardless of your race and educational background, regardless of your immigration status.

Prior to the ribbon-cutting ceremony, President Ronald J. Daniels, Provost Sunil Kumar, and Vice Provost for Integrative Learning and Life Design Farouk Dey delivered speeches to attendees.

Daniels explained that the concept of Life Design was initially introduced as an alternative to what was once known as Career Services.

“To achieve our highest academic aspirations, we must embrace experimentation, pursuit, curiosity, and remain willing to try,” he said. “I thought we had to give it a try, and I’m so glad we did.”

Daniels also emphasized that he hopes the Imagine Center will serve as a place to encourage all students to explore and think critically about the possibilities of their future careers. He continued to emphasize that students have the opportunity to use the Imagine Center as a place to bond and chart new paths with the support of staff and mentors.

Similar to Daniels, Kumar shared that the new Imagine Center embodies the life design philosophy the University aims to foster for the student body, as students can experience different paths and opportunities while having a supportive and encouraging environment to explore.

“We can be with our students…not in that kind of forceful counseling interaction, but in a casual way having conversations, nudging, encouraging experimentation and giving feedback,” he said. -he declares. “The Imagine Center embodies [this] in many ways the Life Design ethos, and I couldn’t be more thrilled that we are officially opening.

Sophomore Rachel Oh explained why it’s necessary to have a space that connects students to different opportunities in an interview with The News-Letter. She explained that with the pre-medical culture present at Hopkins, she feels it is important to show students that they have many opportunities and pathways to contribute to the world.

At the event, Dey expressed his philosophy of inspiring students to experiment with their curiosities and turn their ideas into journeys of limitless possibilities with the help of mentors and resources.

“We have closed the achievement gaps for our first-generation students and our underrepresented minority students,” he said. “Today, more than 12,000 university students are engaging with more than 6,000 former mentors who have raised their hands and said, ‘I want to be part of this movement, I want to help.’

Dey concluded with words of encouragement and support.

“The Imagine Center is your home,” he said. “No matter who you are, no matter what your background, no matter what your social capital, you belong here, and we’re here to support you and imagine the possibilities, try things, and build relationships.”

McKenzie exemplified the eagerness of life design educators to engage with students.

“When we opened our doors, I think we were the best kept secret on campus,” she said. “Now, whatever brings you to this space, you’re welcomed by the staff… We’re all here to have these conversations with you, whether you’re planning on coming to the Life Design Lab to talk to someone. a or let it happen organically the water cooler.

She noted that staff continue to solicit student feedback, which is part of the Life Design process.

In an interview with The News-Letter, sSenior Devon Bonair expressed his hope that the space can also be used for student programming, especially since the Center Mattin has been deleted.

Senior Olivia Wu commented on the importance of this space to the student body in an interview with The News-Letter.

“After the pandemic and now in person, it’s important that students can come into that physical space and have face-to-face conversation with peer educators and LDL educators,” she said. “I hope more students will take notice of this facility and all it has to offer.”

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