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There is no conversation more boring than the one where everybody agrees.
THE
BULLETIN
Volume 73 | Issue 3
May 2005

Union Spotlight: Ross Commons at Drexel University

History

The Ross Commons building is a historical limestone Victorian mansion built in 1898, originally built for railroad magnate Max Riebenack. Acquired by Drexel in 1928, it has served as the university president's mansion, a hospitality center, and a daycare center for Drexel before becoming the present-day Ross Commons. An electrical fire on the second floor shut down the hospitality center for 10 years, and with the help of a generous gift from Drexel alums George (Class of 1955), Hon (Class of 1999), and Lyn Ross, the building now stands as the newest student gathering place on Drexel's North Campus.

Unique features

Ross Commons' best feature is its flexibility for updating the space to be consistent with student needs. Ross Commons is famous for great food and a comfortable atmosphere for hanging out. The hallmark is the building itself as seen in the Victorian touches and detailed architecture; it speaks for itself.

First floor lounge areas with large dining/study tables, sofas, chairs, and marble-top round tables are the most popular eating location. The second floor area, with its billiards table and plasma television, is a social hot spot. Study areas are mainly on the third and fourth floor where students have found quiet spots to study. The facility also features an outdoor walk-up window for Starbucks coffee, a patio area with satellite radio, wireless access as well as dataports, and recycling containers to assist the university in meeting its goal of 25 percent recycled waste.

Certainly one other unique feature is Ross Commons' supposed ghost named Martha who lives on the fourth floor, an old bedroom for the house mom during the hospitality center days. This friendly ghost is said to walk the stairs at night in her white bedgown, checking on the building.

Students' role

Students have great input in the services and programs we offer in the Ross Commons. Outside of student organizations and individuals who use the space, a team of student employees give input in their workspace and in policies and services offered. To be successful, users' input is valued in identifying what improvements can be made, where Ross Commons' best assets lie, and what new services and programs should be offered in the future.

Programming

Weekly events in Ross Commons include Thursday Night Live entertainment events in the late evenings and Wednesday night Quizzo trivia games. In the springtime, musicians play outdoors during the lunch hours. Another popular programming initiative in Ross Commons are its Texas Hold 'Em tournaments.

DREXEL UNIVERSITY
Private, urban, four-year
FULL-TIME ENROLLMENT: 17,656

ROSS COMMONS
DIRECTOR: Paula King
SIZE OF THE UNION: 17,000 sq. ft.
NUMBER OF FLOORS: 4
BUILT: 1898, renovation/restoration June 2003
NUMBER OF STUDENT STAFF:
5 building managers,
35 food service staff
NUMBER OF FULL-TIME STAFF: 1