University Park IL,
21:21 PM

GSU Sets Aside a Common Hour to Build Community

This year, Governors State University continues a long held tradition of welcoming new and returning students to campus for a new academic year.

Convocation highlights will include celebratory speeches, ceremonial marches and awards.

In a break from tradition, the university will launch a new ritual this year – common hour.

Beginning in the fall, a new "common hour” will be set aside every Thursday from 1 to 3 p.m. to allow students to connect and engage beyond the classroom. Additionally, the new class schedule will create a natural break for lunch every day from 12:50 to 1:30 p.m.

Aurelio Valente, Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, said the idea is to provide a regular time slot every week, freeing students to meet for activities that build community and help them thrive and succeed.

“With a common period, we can schedule scholarly events and speakers that appeal to a broad audience, the Academic Resource Center can schedule study groups, the Counseling and Wellness Center can schedule support groups, students can meet to work on group projects, and student organizations can host open meetings and events,” he said.

To help kick start programming, the Division of Student Affairs is offering mini- grants up to $1,000 for student groups, departments and colleges to sponsor events during the common period.

Valente applauded Associate Professor and Faculty Senate President David Golland for advancing the idea of a common period. Golland said a task force of faculty, students, staff, academic administration, and non-academic administration worked on the concept, known as “club hours,” for two years.  It was approved by Provost Beth Cada just in time for fall classes.

Golland said he was grateful for Dr. Cada's decision to overhaul the master class schedule. "In doing so, she restored shared governance to this important aspect of university life.  Over the next year or two we expect most university committees and councils, as well as most student organizations, to move their meetings into the club hours."