UCLA officials finished constructing the first outdoor study space between Powell Library and the Humanities Building early last week.
The Office of Instructional Development and UCLA Facilities Management collaborated to install several study benches with power outlets in the space during spring quarter, and completed the project this fall.
“A lot of other campuses provide outdoor (study) spaces with power and internet,” said Robert Rodgers, director of educational technology systems at OID. “UCLA (didn’t) really have that.”
Rodgers said he often saw students congregating around power outlets on campus, so his team thought they should prioritize power sources when designing the study spaces.
After looking for places to test the new benches, the team decided on the walkway between Powell and Humanities because it had enough space and was a central location.
Rodgers added they may add more benches in the area outside Bunche Hall and in the Court of Sciences, but it will depend on students’ responses.
Several students said they liked the concept of outdoor study spaces.
“I think (outdoor study spaces) are a good idea because the library is usually pretty full,” said Liliana Gonzalez, a second-year biology student.
She added she had not realized that there were power outlets attached to the benches, but is likely to use them in the future.
Daniel Pinter, a second-year economics student who had used the study space, said it was nice to be able to work outside. He added he would like to see similar benches on the Hill so students could study outside there as well.
“We should have more outdoor study spaces because the library can be kind of confining and you have to be quiet,” said Magdalene Lo, a first-year atmospheric, oceanic and environmental sciences student. “Outside, you can enjoy the fresh air.”
Lo said even though the space has a lot of foot traffic, it was still quite secluded, and she would come back to study again.
Gonzalo Gutierrez, a second-year environmental science student, said he regularly studies outdoors with friends, but had not heard of the new outdoor study space. He added more publicity in the form of Facebook promotions or emails would have been helpful and that he was likely to use the space in the future.
Rodgers said his team has seen students using the space but has not received formal feedback.
“We really want student feedback,” Rodgers said. “For example, if it would be better if the benches came with umbrellas, or any other input they have.”
Rodgers added they will set up a formal process for student input to inform their planning for this initiative.