BY LUIS GRONDA
Students at Queens College have been able to get the full college experience thanks to Dr. James Muyskens.
During Muyskens’ time as President, the Summit Apartments at Queens College opened, giving some students a chance to live on campus and turning the university into more than a commuter school.
Adam Rockman, Vice President of Student Affairs at Queens College, said the apartments have led to a change with student life on campus. According to Rockman, Queens College after hours and during the weekend used to be a “ghost town.” But since the dorms were built, it has become much more vibrant on campus, including an annual midnight breakfast during finals week and other activities like several concerts and shows during the school year.
Attendance at the college’s sports games is also higher because of students living on campus, he said.
He added that studies show that college students have a higher grade point average overall when they are involved in activities at their school.
“The bottom line is when students feel a connection to the school, they wind up feeling better about the college,” Rockman said.
The dormitory officially opened on Aug. 26, 2009. The residence hall is five stories high with 506 beds: 17 for resident assistants and staff and 489 for students. The rooms include suites with several amenities, including a state-of-the-art fitness center, soundproof music practice rooms and wireless Internet throughout the building.
It also was built to meet the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) requirements, which is a rating system for the design and construction of buildings in the United States. According to Dave Gosine, director of facilities, design and construction at Queens College, The Summit got the gold rating for the LEED system.
The residence hall has had a ripple effect on the university in the four years since it has opened.
Laurie Dorf, Assistant Vice President for Institutional Advancement at the university, said the dorms have, in particular, helped the athletes and musicians at QC, because they can now stay on campus to get all the services they need instead of going off campus.
The building took about three years to build and some of it was built using recyclable materials. He said Muyskens’ vision for the apartment was to make it environmentally-friendly and give the students a comfortable place to live and study.
Gosine said the apartments now give prospective students the chance to live on campus at an affordable price.
The three officials all echoed similar sentiments when discussing Muyskens’ time as president: They were all honored to work alongside him and he will be greatly missed when he leaves.
Rockman said bringing the Summit to Queens College will forever be part of Muyskens’ legacy, because he made dorms at the university a reality and it will benefit the school for many years to come. He also said he has grown the most in his professional life working alongside Muyskens.
“I will miss him terribly,” Rockman said.
Dorf said Muyskens was always very enthusiastic and engaging. He often appeared at events in the school as well as outside the college because he was a part of the community.
“He’s left a wonderful legacy. He brought us to the next level,” she said.
As for the possibility of building more dorms in the future, both Rockman and Gosine said it is something the school is interested in, but it is a matter of getting the funds to build a new dorm.
Reach Luis Gronda at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 127, firstname.lastname@example.org or @luisgronda.