Volume 80 | Issue 2
March 2012

 Union Spotlight: Scandling Campus Center, Hobart & William Smith Colleges   


Hobart & William Smith College
Four-year, private, rural
Full-time enrollment: 2,200
Location: Geneva, N.Y.

Scandling Campus Center
Director: Robert Pool,
Director of Student Activities
Size: 68,000 sq. ft.
Floors: 2
Year built: 1984
Annual budget: $2.5 million
Nonstudent staff: 24 (full-time); 36 (part-time)
Student staff: 100 (part-time)

The Scandling Center was dedicated in honor of William Scandling, an alumnus of Hobart College. As an undergraduate, Scandling founded the Saga Corporation, a college campus dining services company. HW1 

“It became the sole dining services provider for the colleges before expanding into a highly successful national company,” said Robert Pool, director of student activities. “The Scandling Center was dedicated in 1984 thanks to Scandling’s generous donation and support over decades of service as an alum and Board of Trustees member. His corporation was sold to Marriott in 1986.”  

In 2008, the Scandling Center underwent an expansion project, adding more than 17,000 square feet of space that includes a café, post office, and multipurpose smart room.  

The Office of Student Activities is a hub for the more than 80 student organizations, club sports, and fraternities on campus.

Unique features

Architecture is a unique feature of the Scandling Center. 

“It is one of the most architecturally complex buildings on campus,” Pool said. “From its slate roof to circular patterns found throughout the structure, the space is a mix of visually diverse features representing the complex yet cohesive nature of this coordinate institution.”

Pool said the best feature of the building, and a major draw for students, is the fireplace found in the student lounge.
“Our school is located in a very cold region of the country,” he explained. “So, when the temperature drops outside, the students gather around the fire with hot coffee in hand.”

As for the Office of Student Activities, reliability is a key feature; “Students know they can rely on Student Activities to answer questions and be a steady source of support for the development of their ideas and goals,” Pool said. 

Students’ role

Students compose a large portion of the workforce for the Scandling Center. Specialized roles, according to Pool, include aiding clubs with advertising and public relations, assisting fraternal organizations, and staffing the concierge desk and club sports services. HW2

“We also employ a student team of event support staff,” Pool said. “They help set up, operate, and tear down large or complex club- and department-sponsored events.”
Students not working may be found eating in the Scandling Center. A popular destination, Saga, the largest dining hall on campus, seats about 400 students.

“Students refer to socializing time after meals as ‘Saga sitting,’” Pool said. “With wireless Internet, Saga offers the perfect conditions for grabbing a bite, catching up with friends, and last-minute homework.”


Clubs and the student-run Campus Activities Board host more than 400 events each year. Recent concerts include Ben Folds, Umphrey’s McGee, and Talib Kweli. This academic year, the Office of Student Activities sponsored the Sing On, during which three student a cappella groups competed.

“Faculty and staff judges weighed the groups’ creativity, mastery, and technical soundness in front of a standing-room-only crowd,” Pool said.

Three Miles Lost, an all-women’s group from William Smith College, won the grand prize of opening for the Ben Folds concert the following week.

The colleges also have a rich history with the advancement of women’s rights.

“The first American female physician, Elizabeth Blackwell, graduated in 1849 from Hobart & William Smith, then called the Medical Institution of Geneva,” Pool said. “Today, the women’s collective hosts campus events and regional conferences on women’s issues.”