New SophoMORE Kitchen Opens in Mears Hall
By Greg Smith - WESTERN STATE COLORADO UNIVERSITY, Sept. 12, 2013: Tasty aromas filled the room as ground beef sizzled in new pans on two new stoves, Avery Roberts juggled a trio of hacky sacks, two other students played ping pong and fellow sophomore Ed Cleary studied his calculus on a nearby table.
Sophomore Avery Roberts juggles a trio of hacky sacks as other students cook up quesadillas at the grand opening of the new Mears Hall SophoMORE kitchen, part of Western's new Second-Year Experience program.
The new Mears Hall SophoMORE Kitchen and commons room was officially open for business – and pleasure. The new facility, part of Western’s outreach to second-year students, includes a pair of stoves, two large refrigerators, a microwave, a dishwasher, counter space, a large sink, sturdy cookware and a long island with seating. Then there are the ping pong table, a foosball table more chairs and work tables to serve as a gathering place for students to both work and play together.
Quesadillas were on the menu, supplied by Residence Life, for all second-year students. A couple of residence assistants from the dorm helped students assemble their meal, as Rob Swinton, assistant director for Residence Life stirred seasoning into a sizzling pan.
The SophoMORE second-year experience is a new program that builds on Western’s successful First Year Experience to help students stay engaged with their university and their community as they LearnMORE, GrowMORE and AchieveMORE. It helps students reach beyond their first year at Western to build meaningful and lasting connections with: each other, their instructors, the campus community, Gunnison and their future. Sophomores are now required to live in university residence halls, and the Residence Life staff focuses on using that time together to enhance students engagement with the university and its community.
While the students packed tortillas with goodies, Swinton acknowledged their call to add a pool table to round out the room, adding that, in the meantime, he hoped they would enjoy the new facility as it is.
“Love it. Use it,” he said, quickly adding, “Clean it. … And know it’s going to be even better.”