The newly renovated Badger Den is open for students to lounge, dine and study on campus. Located on the Washington Street Campus next to the bookstore in the College Union Building, students can sit in peace, prep for a test, enjoy a hot meal or visit with friends. At first glance, the space resembles the lobby of a posh hotel franchise.
Wood accents, tile flooring, plush chairs, a hearth, two HD television sets and an earthy color scheme sew together the new décor of the Den. Several vending machines, microwaves and an island counter with a sink on one end provide students with all they need to fix a filling meal. Director of Student Life Heather Atchley said she had been waiting a long time to finally renovate the space.
“I think it’s beautiful,” she said. “We really wanted a space that felt warm and welcoming to students. Just a place where they can go and sit and eat or study or watch TV or hang out in between classes, and also a good space for students to go on campus that’s open past five o’clock so our evening students have access to it as well.”
Before renovation, the area was the cafeteria with worn white linoleum floors, bland white walls, abused creaky chairs and tables and an abandoned cooking and serving space where Custom Food Group prepared meals for several years. Some called the lighting shrill and unstimulating, and the square surfaces caused the room to be loud at times. Now, fluorescent lighting has been tempered with warm fixtures, and improved acoustics dampen the ambient noise.
Students new and old have reacted positively to the renovated Den.
“It’s friendly and comfortable,” said Crystal Gonzalez. “It gives us a chance to get homework done.”
Other students compared the previous and current spaces.
“The cafeteria was pretty old looking,” Edward Shaffer said. “It didn’t catch your eye.”
Now he says he’ll visit more often.
Dozens of combination wall and USB sockets are located throughout the Den, providing power for students to work on laptops and charge their phones.
Students are encouraged to use the space anytime between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m.
“I’ve met a couple friends here, and it’s really nice,” Jessica Taylor said. Previously the name “Badger Den” was reserved for room 208 in the CUB. Dethroned of its title, it now is known simply as a meeting room.