General Studies office moves to Union Bookstore

Jesus Perez, junior in LAS, checks over his schedule and receives help from Dimitria Johnson, a secretary at the new Division of General Studies office located on the fifth floor of the Illini Union Bookstore.

Daily Illini File Photo

Jesus Perez, junior in LAS, checks over his schedule and receives help from Dimitria Johnson, a secretary at the new Division of General Studies office located on the fifth floor of the Illini Union Bookstore.

By Ebonique Wool

Upon exiting the elevator on the fifth floor of the Illini Union Bookstore, 807 S. Wright St., you will see the new office for the Campus Center for Advising and Academic Services. A bright lobby and waiting room filled with new furnishings await students, as well as spotless, glass-paneled advising offices with familiar faces seated inside.

“We now look like an official academic unit,” Christopher Maier, academic adviser at the center, said. “Students can be proud of the location where they go to receive academic services.”

The previous facility, formally known as the General Curriculum Building, was located at 912 S. Fifth St.

“Physically, we’re now called Campus Center for Advising and Academic Services,” Julian Parrott, assistant provost and director of the center, said. “Our unit is morphing into the Department of General Studies.”

Parrott said the Division of General Studies is now an independent campus unit instead of a subunit of LAS. Most of the current students in the department were admitted under LAS and will remain that way until they declare a major, but in the future, students who start out undecided will be under the new department.

“We wanted to create a name that reflects the message that we have a new center and we deliver new services,” Parrott said. “We want to give the sense that we are a central campus unit that serves a vital purpose.”

Students appreciate the new space and some remember the old building with little remorse.

“The old one looked very unprofessional,” Purvik Bhesania, freshman in LAS, said.

Though the advisers are excited to have more space and resources, including a new computer lab and conference rooms, they note the positives of the old space, as well.

Parrott said the homelike quarters helped to foster closeness between staff and students, a feeling difficult to develop in the larger office.

“At the new building, we’re striving to maintain that friendly, open, accessible environment,” he said.

Parrott said that the students feel the University has an investment in them and that they are as important as other students.

“It makes me feel better about choosing General Curriculum as a study,” Bhesania said.