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By Rachael Williamson

CCC Journalism Program

BLACKWOOD – Students at Camden County College are asking for a new student center on campus. They want a central place where they can meet with friends, indulge in a range of activities and enjoy an environment that feels separate from the campus.

Students gather in the cafeteria at Camden County College. By Rachael Williamson, CCC Journalism Program

Students gather in the cafeteria at Camden County College. By Rachael Williamson, CCC Journalism Program

In the 1980s and 1990s, the Community Center at Camden County College was different for students. Jacqueline Tenuto, the assistant dean for student development and support, talked about her experience as a student. “There were video games, pool tables and table tennis,” she said this week. “And this was all where the bookstore is now located.”

But in the early 2000s, the Community Center caught fire. “The college had to close the community center and open the campus cafeteria in Wilson Hall Center, in the space that now houses the Registration Office and Business Office,” said Susan Coulby, the media relations manager. After the fire, a second renovation of the Community Center occurred.

Currently, the Community Center does not hold such games or activities for students. But “the fire and the game room issues are not related,” said David Chojnacki, the director of business services. “The game rooms of the old days presented many challenges because they were not out in the open and some students conducted activities that weren’t allowed on campus.”

The college decided to transition, creating the Cyber Café. Computers and television screens were put in place of the video games. Additionally, the Atrium was created as another space where students can gather. Students still hope to have those leisure interests placed back into the Community Center, as renovations for the campus continue.

“We definitely will consider it,” said James N. Canonica, the executive dean of enrollment and student services.

Students also want a new student center to be a place where they can host events. Movie nights, stand-up comedy acts and talent shows were some of the ideas mentioned.

“We’re not allowed to play music in the cafeteria and in the lobbies,” said Nick Daniels, a 22-year-old student at CCC. “We need an area where we can have an Open Mic Night and play music.”

Tenuto expressed her interest in exploring students’ ideas. She said students who want to host an event should visit her office. She said, “I am dying to have that.”ags:

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