Chair Talk 4.3

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Chair Talk 4.3              The University Club Project


As many of you know, we’ve been planning for a University Club for some years now, to provide a versatile social and meeting space for our community.  As I indicated in my last message, the plan we had been working on that looked so promising has simply taken too long to reach fruition so we are moving off in another direction.  President Robbins is strongly supportive of a Club that also serves as a potential Alumni Center and perhaps as an on-campus convention area and small hotel.  Such facilities exist on many university campuses and it would be great to have one here.  Realizing this concept will take years, we are now planning an interim facility, with a slate of potential activities, to get things going.

In our prior discussions with literally hundreds of faculty we have gotten a sense of the things that matter to potential users of a University Club.  In no particular order these include: (1) a place to have a nice buffet lunch with colleagues, students, or visitors; (2) a place to go at the end of the day to unwind with colleagues over the beverage of your choice; (3) a place to hold department meetings and retreats, with the possibility of refreshments; (4) a place to meet people from the community, for networking, project-planning, and/or fund-raising; (5) a place to enjoy events such as performances, book readings, food and drink tastings, etc.

We cannot possibly manage all of these on an interim basis, but we think we can manage many of them as a way of bridging between now and when a permanent facility is available.  We are exploring the use of a large space in the Student Union (Arizona & Mesa Rooms), we hope to get the Club started.  This space is already set up for buffet lunches, and it includes a small room that can be used for separate functions.  More details will be broadcast soon, but what I am asking for now is your participation in a very brief Qualtrics survey that will help us in setting up an interim Club structure that works best for the UA community.

Please click here to access the survey and will take less than 5 minutes to fill out. 

Based on this feedback we will start planning lunch schedules, late afternoon beverage and snack events (a Pop-Up Pub!), and more.  It is likely that we will start small this semester with a handful of events and then ramp up in the Spring.  At present we are imagining that the buffet lunches (aiming for quality) will be substantially subsidized, to get things going.  In the long run they will be competitively priced and there will be membership arrangements that will lower the price.  The late afternoon Pop Up Pub will feature wine/beer/soft drinks with light snacks and will also be subsidized for the time being.

It is important that as many faculty as possible take this quick survey, including those who may never use the Club.  We need to get a realistic sense of what proportion of faculty are likely to make use of these facilities.  Thanks for your input and I look forward to greeting many of you at a University Club event in the not too distant future.

Lynn Nadel
Chair of the Faculty