The freshmen lobby has undergone major reconstruction. The idea was first put forth by Tyler Choi and Samantha May, both Vanguard graduates and former SGA facility representatives. Realizing the potential for the space, Choi and May began efforts to gain support and funding to renovate the lobby.
The Board of Trustees members contributed 95% of the $300,000 construction project and many of the remaining funds came from students as well as hundreds of other donors.
“It’s been truly exciting to see this project come together. I can remember being a freshman on student government when Tyler Choi and Sam May worked tirelessly to represent to administration the students’ desire to have a refurbished lobby,” SGA President David Vazquez said.
The Towers Lobby area needed improvement beyond paint and new carpeting. The furniture was outdated, the carpet was from the 1980s and the phone booths, circa 1960s, were non-functional. There was also a need to bring the area up to current California code standards with new safety glass windows, heating and air conditioning, electrical wiring and outlets for laptop computers, and a functional, accessible area for those with disabilities.
The new lobby will feature an outdoor covered patio complete with furniture, fountains, and a fireplace. Indoors, the lobby will have separate study areas, new furniture, a media center, a game area, an expanded seating area around a large-screen TV and better lighting. Come rain or shine, students will have a place to study and to socialize.
“The Towers lobby is a place where students need to feel comfortable since this is their home away from home. The Love the Lobby project will bring about the community that Vanguard strives to create with its students as a first reaction to the freshman students that are experiencing this great community for the first time,” Choi said.
Administration played a vital role in the Love the Lobby project. Two vice presidents for Business and Finance oversaw the building part, two vice presidents for University Advancement assisted with the fundraising. Vice President of Student Affairs Ann Hamilton worked with students and other vice presidents to communicate the importance and immediate need as well as develop a student-centered plan.
“My dream is that this will be the first of many places on campus where students can have fun, develop friendships, have life-changing conversations, tackle hard life issues, and garner the support and encouragement that they need to live a transformed life,” Hamilton said.