Going daffy for the DUC
After more than 10 years of planning, the Danforth University Center (DUC) has finally opened its doors. The building’s opening has been one of the main events on campus over the past few weeks and has drawn students, with a number of different activities and free food offerings.
The DUC has been promoted as a building that will have many different functions, but most significantly for students, it has been touted as a gathering place, a bastion of student activity, which is something the student body sorely needed. Last spring, there was concern that students wouldn’t actually use the DUC and it wouldn’t fulfill its potential to bring students together, but the amount of buzz around the building within the past week is enough proof that the DUC is certainly a success that has lived up to its extensive hype.
With its large number of rooms that student groups can reserve, as well as creative spaces where students can hang out, the DUC is a building students can really live in. It’s an easy place to meet friends, hang out comfortably between classes or host student group meetings.
Its college-friendly hours of operation—it closes at midnight on weekdays and 2 a.m. on weekends—will take some pressure off Whispers as the resident casual study spot. The DUC is located conveniently in the middle of campus and offers food and attractive space, which is everything students really need to use a building easily. Its functionality is no surprise given the fact that the DUC planners solicited student opinion, which is the best way to ensure it is in touch with students. This move caused the DUC plans to be designed with both the University’s interests and student’s interests in mind, which is the perfect combination for a successful endeavor. The number of students and parents lounging around during this past week and the number of groups that utilized the building for activities during pre-orientation and orientation show that the building really does meet student needs.
The only caveat is that the building’s eatery is not large enough to meet the demands of the students who will flock there. Though it is attractive and sophisticated, it is significantly smaller than the former space in Mallinckrodt and could be in even greater demand due to the popularity of the DUC. Instead of providing a nice, relaxed dining experience, it is likely the DUC eateries will be plagued by long lines and a lack of seating. With its flexible hours, however, on-campus diners and visitors will have new alternatives for evening meals, and these are some much-needed options for students with evening exams.
Though the long lines and problems with the DUC’s eating facilities will certainly cause students some headaches, this small problem does not negate the DUC’s ultimate success. It is difficult to create a building and entice students to spend time in it when they are not used to doing so, but the design and features of the DUC have made it this type of success. The DUC is a building of which the University can be proud.