Magazine Feature

ASCEND: More than 5,000 donors built a catalyst for campus connection

Since it opened in spring 2013, the Anderson Academic Commons has become the hub of intellectual life at the University of Denver. Photo: Wayne ArmstrongSince it opened in spring 2013, the Anderson Academic Commons has become the hub of intellectual life at the University of Denver. The University spent 10 years conducting surveys and planning an updated library, and the new building reflects current trends in learning and education. Rather than functioning solely as a quiet place to study or as the backdrop to office hours, the Academic Commons offers the possibility for extended learning opportunities and collaborations that are not typically associated with a traditional library.

Anderson Academic Commons — commonly known as the AAC — has 1,864 study seats (in honor of the University’s founding in 1864) and 32 group study rooms equipped with white boards and flat screens that connect to computers, tablets and smart phones. Richly integrated educational experiences are made possible by the new space and facilitated by staff members such as AAC community relations manager Andrea Howland, who hosts speakers and coordinates events with different departments across campus.

The Academic Commons recently hosted an event with culinary historian Adrian Miller, who used the library’s Husted Cookery Collection to research his recent James Beard Award-winning book about soul food. Attendees listened to Miller speak as they enjoyed authentic cuisine and music performed by DU students. Fusions of lectures, food and entertainment were not possible in the previous library, but—thanks to the generosity of more than 5,000 donors during ASCEND—the AAC is able to host these types of interdisciplinary events, which are accessible to students, staff, faculty and the greater Denver community.

“I love that the library has an impact on everybody at the University,” Howland says. Users might come in to pick up a book or eat lunch at the Front Porch Café and notice an exhibit or an upcoming guest speaker. The Anderson Academic Commons is a valuable resource that enriches academic life at the University of Denver. As the intellectual hub of campus, it truly helps build community.

 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

*