NYU commuter students gathered at the Hayden Commuter Den on Wednesday for the ribbon cutting ceremony and official welcoming of the commuter-dedicated space.
Hayden Residence Hall underwent extensive renovations last year, part of which saw its basement transformed into the Hayden Commuter Den. Previously home to a swimming pool, the space is now fully dedicated to NYU’s commuter student population. The Den has been officially open since Sept. 28.
NYU President John Sexton spoke at the event, praising the creation of the space and identifying with the students’ need for it, as he was a commuter student when he attended Fordham University.
“A lot of times you have to think about sacrificing forward,” Sexton said. “Think about that as you wait for the Coles space to be built. This is a small way for us to say it will get better and better and better.”
The Hayden Commuter Den includes an auditorium, a lounge with moveable furniture, a kitchen and an office for commuter student organizations and meetings.
Rosario Giarratana, a Stern alumna and the former president of the Commuter Student Council from 2013 to 2015, was involved in the design process and planning stages of the den, saying commuter students were the ones who brought up the lack of space.
“We were aware that the university was planning to renovate Hayden, and we found this underused space that the Commuter Student Council then asked for,” Giarratana said.
Principal architect at Matiz Architecture and Design Juan Carlos Matiz attended the ceremony along with other team members who were involved in the designing and creating of the Den. The architects worked with a group of commuter students — mainly the CSC — who provided feedback and information that the architects then implemented in their designs.
The architects left a third of the original swimming pool space intact, and used the depression from the pool to create an auditorium for film screenings and other events.
“The idea was to be able to do lots of things,” Matiz said. “We received a list of goals from the students, because we needed to find out what commuter needs were.”
Rich Hurley, associate director of the Student Resource Center, said he hopes all the events in the space are focused on commuters and making their experiences special.
“I think the dream is that commuters, from the minute that they get to campus, ultimately know the commuter den will be their everything spot,” Hurley said. “It will be a place they can study, relax, chat with friends, make new connections with folks and I think it’s really about them owning this space.”
Daniel Sully, Gallatin junior and president of the CSC, characterized the Den as being a space dedicated to commuter programs and organizations. He added that the CSC already has plans for creating more space for commuters in the future — not limited to NYU’s Manhattan campus.
“It has been a few years in the making, so there are many people to thank,” Sully said. “We are making history, and have set our sights on the NYU Tandon School of Engineering where we hope to one day have a space.”
Email Greta Chevance at [email protected]