Image Courtesy of Catholic University of America
By Chanel Cole
Since its convention in March 2003, the Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center or, simply the “Pryz”, is home to many student organizations and has become a vital organ of campus activity. Students, faculty, administrators, and even organizations outside of campus find usefulness in the centralized locale. It’s where students go to share a meal with friends, to cram for their next exam in one of the student lounges, or to attend events hosted by student orgs. It’s where faculty can enjoy a cup of coffee from the coveted Starbucks. The centralized locale is one of the first aspects of our community that prospective students have a chance to see on cardinal ambassador tours, and for good reason too. With its 20th anniversary underway, it presents a timely opportunity to discuss the changes that the Pryzbyla Center will see in the coming years and reflect on what it will mean for current and future members of the University.
In late February, Dr. Judi Biggs Garbuio, VP of Student Affairs and Bill Jonas, Executive Director of Events and Conference Services, were invited to senate meetings to discuss with senators the future campus construction plans. These plans involved turning the once-was Eatery into a center for student activity within the Pryz. The completion of Garvey Hall, a brand new dining hall on campus, was both the cause and result of the destruction of the long-reigning Eatery. Because of this, the University had a decision to make as to what would be done with the empty space. Since 2019, administrators have been hard at work to devise a plan for what was to come with the new space. The plan they finalized was to transform the space into a student lounge area and the new home to several campus organizations, such as the CCE (Center of Cultural Engagement and OCA (Office of Campus Activities). Furthermore, they hope to install a new space for performance set-ups.
The lower level of the Pryz is also projected to face changes as well. The goal is to move the bookstore and the post office to the area where the Pryz Market currently resides. Additionally, the stairs connecting each level will also be wider and there will be some changes to the style of the downstairs lounge table area, adjacent to the staircase.
With any change, it is important to reflect on the implications that it brings. The Pryzbyla Center’s new construction is exciting, but we should ask ourselves some questions. How will those changes affect the lives of students? Will they improve quality of life here or worsen it? What challenges will come with these changes? These are just some of the considerations that should be taken into account when thinking about changes to the Pryz. These plans will come to full fruition within the next coming years and we will have a better idea of how to answer these questions.