Union Spotlight on the Charles J. Wick Campus Center at Daemen College
Four-year, private, residential, commuter
Location: Amherst, New York
Charles J. Wick Campus Center
Year Built: 1967
Size: 43,000 sq. ft.
Director: Kimberly Pagano
Student Staff: 20 part-time
Nonstudent Staff: 2 full-time
Wick Campus Center is proof that big things can come in small packages. With a full-time undergraduate student enrollment of under 2,000, you might not expect to have a 24/7 esports gaming center. You’d be wrong.
You might not expect a student center to have five pianos, but there they are: a concert grand, two grands, a studio upright, and a digital, all available and ready for use at special events or just to relax and relieve stress with. Facials? A visiting barber? Look to The Shop at Daemen, a pop-up space where students can benefit from personal services, the next one being a pop-up clothing store.
One event that students can always count on is the TGIF program held every Friday while classes are in session. For one hour in the late afternoon student activities offers free food for students in the Wildcat Den and student clubs and organizations, along with faculty and staff, are encouraged to help host the event. The theme and the fresh food choices change from week to week.
Wildcat Den and the esports lab are two ever-popular destinations, but the building also houses the campus dining hall; a multipurpose social room; an executive board room; meeting rooms; the Counseling, Health, Insurance and Prevention Center, which includes a prayer room, and offices for campus safety, conference services, student affairs, career services, residence life, and student activities.
The building and its activities are funded through student activity fees, revenue from corporate partnerships, and from auxiliary service revenues like dining and conference services. One big change over the last two years has been creation of a funded campus programming board, Campus Activities Team. Team members have made tremendous strides in becoming recognized on campus by their peers as programming experts, and interest continues to build around their programs.
With its central location, the center can also serve as the base for annual events like a Fubuki Con sponsored by the campus anime club and a winter festival where an outdoor, 20-foot-tall pine tree gets an official lighting ceremony. This is where the outdoor quad sits, with a newly renovated basketball court that converts to a winter ice rink, and an adjacent sand volleyball court. The space also has both night lighting and outdoor seating, and in case of bad weather.
In a few months Daemen will overhaul the main dining hall to provide better service stations, more options, comfortable seating, and a better overall dining experience. “We know how important the dining experience is for students and this is a big step forward,” said Dean of Students Kerry Spicer. “Food is always a draw and there’s a lot of energy and life that comes from within the Division of Student Affairs. We try to be student-facing at all times.”