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The New Common Room is Now Available to Students

Chemnitz University of Technology’s first “common room” is now open at Straße der Nationen 62

As of the start of Wintersemester 2019/2020, Chemnitz University of Technology has been offering its students a freely accessible space for collaborative learning and studying: a so-called “common room”. The common room is located on the second floor of the Straße der Nationen building and can accommodate up to 70 students. Corners with cozy sofas, long tables and separated workspaces offer a great atmosphere for studying and creative collaboration. In addition, there are sufficient power outlets and USB ports for all of your electronic devices. The lighting in the lounge area is remote-controlled, and in the future, drink and snack machines will be added to the room. Further common rooms on other portions of the university campus are already being planned.

Common rooms were a request on behalf of both the Rectorate and the students

“In 2016, we set a goal of establishing common rooms at the university, which I greatly came to appreciate through my research stays in Great Britain. They enhance campus life in many ways, including offering a platform for interdisciplinary work and intercultural exchange. I am very happy that we were able to realise this goal, and I offer my deepest thanks to all those who contributed to this,” says President Prof. Dr. Gerd Strohmeier.

The Vice President for Academic and International Affairs, Prof. Dr. Maximilian Eibl, points out that students also expressed a desire for these rooms: “I am pleased that the students have taken the opportunity to express their desire for common rooms via our TUCpanel surveys. In this way, we can help tailor the university to meet the actual needs of our students and further improve their study conditions, and overall make larger contributions to their academic success.”

From wardrobe to common room

“Study also means space for common exchange, creative problem-solving and critical reflection outside of traditional learning spaces. We want to physically incorporate this idea,” says Dr. Maria Worf, who since 2013 has been working on expanding subject-specific learning rooms at the different faculties as a part of the TU4U project. Worf has been instrumental in the development of common rooms at the university. To retrofit the StraNa common room, an office outfitter from Lichtenstein and the university’s Baudezernat (Facilities Services) worked together to expand a mostly vacant area on the second floor of the physics building, to the tune of roughly 60,000 euros. Previously, this room was used as a wardrobe for a nearby lecture hall, and for a long time served merely as a transit corridor.

Common room as a showroom

The new common room will continue to come to life via the wishes of students. So, it would be conceivable that this room could, for example, display the results of student project work or provide a spotlight on student artistic work. “We are very glad to receive suggestions and ideas. Further developments such as interactive displays are also quite conceivable, so as to network the physical spaces even more closely with digital possibilities and learning media,” says Worf.

Because a few standard rules are important to keep the room in a proper balance and accessible to all students, the common room managers are happy to receive suggestions on how to best work together. This includes, for example, reservation capabilities for student initiatives or larger groups, places to post notices or distribute leaflets, or topics of maintenance and cleanliness. Please send your feedback to Dr. Maria Worf at maria.worf@hrz.tu-chemnitz.de.

(Translation: Jeffrey Karnitz)

Mario Steinebach
21.11.2019

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