The University of Connecticut’s campuses tend to be a bit disjointed. The specific going ons of one site is of little importance to the residents of the other five campuses. Sometimes, it can be insightful to connect with our brothers and sisters across the state and to reflect on what their developments entail both directly and figuratively.
The Hartford campus recently opened up a collaboration space, paid for by Travelers Insurance. Living in the Hartford Times Building alongside the rest of UConn Hartford, the space is mostly used as a general work area, with plans to also house various programs related to the coursework there. For the fledgeling campus, the space is already popular for providing students a place to work together on campus.
While it may seem like a small development compared to the plethora of working space in the established Storrs campus, the process and end result of this is hugely important for the institution just gaining its footing in Hartford. Ultimately, as it seems Hartford Campus Director Mark Overmyer-Velazquez is aware, this represents hope for the future of the college and city together.
First is the space itself. The concept of a “collaboration space” may seem vague, but considering the context of UConn Hartford, it makes complete sense. The space provides students with a place to work together on projects, free from the constraints or pressures of privately owned spaces in the city. For a campus with no dorms, this changes the way students are able to interact and work.
On the financing end, Travelers paying for the space’s development is a noble, if self-serving, deed. Of course, the company is more than happy to be in the public and schools’ good graces for a variety of reasons, but this does not devalue the benefit of the action. Along with other projects in conjunction with local entities, UConn Hartford has painted itself as having the goal of integration. Working with Travelers is just another step in the downtown campus cementing itself as a part of the community.
By approaching campus development through the lens of community, UConn Hartford aims for the stars. In its pursuit of these ideals in higher education, the campus has succeeded at the very least in inspiring some optimism. Hopefully, the campus can continue this streak of good intentions. Perhaps Storrs and the other sites can even take a page out of their newest sibling’s book in their own pursuits at integration. UConn Hartford is quickly looking to be a model of the future.