Lerner, like Justin Timberlake, is bringing sexy back.
In a joint effort of the Columbia College Student Council, the Engineering Student Council, and Columbia administrators, the "Make Lerner Sexy," or "Sexify Lerner," campaign proposes both long and short-term improvements to Lerner to make the student center more attractive and accessible.
Current ESC Student Services Representative and ESC President-elect Peter Valeiras, SEAS '09, said that both councils hope the initiative will "make Lerner more student-friendly."
CCSC Student Services Representative Brian Leung, CC '09, said that some of the first issues the councils discussed were the dim and unnatural lighting in many parts of the building, the dirty bathrooms, and the unwelcoming lobby.
"We're really trying to work on the lobby, because that's the first thing people see when they walk in," Valeiras said.
The student councils and the administration have discussed multiple options for improving the space. In addition to opening up the area by moving bins and depositories outdoors, they hope to reinstall quick-access computers as well as a user-friendly, computerized map of Lerner.
"A lot of the time, when people first come to Lerner, especially freshmen and prospective students, they don't know where they're going." said Leung, who has been another driving force behind the initiative. "It would be useful to have navigation, especially because of the way Lerner is designed with the combination of ramps and stairs. It makes it confusing."
Leung also said that the councils would like to incorporate an arts initiative so that student art could be on display and are trying to replace the student council bulletin boards with television screens.
Another major issue for students has been the often sub-par conditions of restrooms in Lerner. "It has come up constantly," Valeiras said.
Honey Sue Fishman, executive director of business services for the University and the administrative point-person on this project, assessed the situation as "dire" and said that she hopes to find "new ways to address the maintenance issues" to improve the upkeep of the restrooms.
Valeiras praised the administration for being responsive on the issue, adding that they had come up with "very elaborate plans" that often exceeded the student councils' expectations for improvements.
"They, too, are committed to making Lerner as much a student center and a campus center as possible," Valeiras said.
Manhattanville Student Outreach Director Michael Novielli, CC '03 and another project participant, said he hopes that "by making it [Lerner] a more welcoming environment, we will see increased student use."
Valeiras also admitted that Lerner "can be used more efficiently," but added, "I think students do make what they can of Lerner."