New space gives students positive place to play and study

Victoria Retasket, NWIC’s student activities coordinator, plays Apples to Apples with students Alisha Sellars, Eric Lewis, and Kendra Kelly at the grand re-opening celebration for the Student Union Building. Retasket plans to set up a pool table and ping pong table by the end of the month.
On March 13, Northwest Indian College (NWIC) students, staff and faculty celebrated the re-opening of their Student Union Building with games, door prizes and snacks, including chocolate covered strawberries.

The facility has been open on a very limited basis for about two years – since student services moved out of that building and into its new building on the other side of campus. Even before the move, back in the facility’s heyday, the space didn’t have many amenities for student entertainment.

“It wasn’t ever fully used,” said Nicole Baker, NWIC director of residence life. “It was just an empty room with a couple of computers and a conference table.”

This time around, the building is being transformed into a space where students can play board games, pool and ping pong, listen to music, study or just relax and interact with each other, said Mona Halcomb, NWIC’s dean of students. In essence, it will be a place where students can enjoy themselves in positive ways.

“We are really trying to create a sense of belonging and community with the building,” Halcomb said.

So far, NWIC students, staff and faculty have cleared out the main room of the building, where a big conference table sits with a few board games stacked in the middle. They have a ways to go before they make their dream building a reality.

The pool and ping pong tables should be set up in two weeks, said Victoria Retasket, NWIC student activities coordinator. Other than that, Retasket would like to empty the other large room in the building, tear out the kitchen to make the main room larger, make the Wi-Fi signal in the building stronger, set up coffee tables and comfy chairs, and maybe even put in some windows.

Still, with only a single table in the room at the re-opening celebration, students said they were happy to have a place to “chill” and “build camaraderie.”

“It’s nice to have a positive place for students to hang out,” one student said.

Retasket is accepting donations, including: coffee tables and chairs, comfy chairs, art work, arts and crafts supplies, and games. She has also asked any students to contact her who are interested in painting a mural in the building or helping in any other way.

For more information, contact Victoria Retasket, at (360) 392-4233 or vretasket@nwic.edu.