LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 10, 2021) — The University of Kentucky has recently opened the doors to the expanded dining and student support spaces in the Gatton Student Center.
The project, approved by the UK Board of Trustees in October of 2019, was the result of the university’s strategic plan to continue to grow undergraduate enrollment and high participation levels in UK meal plans used at the Student Center’s dining venues.
"This expanded Gatton Student Center footprint is exciting for many reasons, including that it infuses even more student-facing services into the living room of our campus,” said UK Vice President for Student Success Kirsten Turner.
The expansion will be home to the Disability Resource Center (DRC), Student Community Resources and Services, the Violence Intervention and Prevention (VIP) Center, Financial Wellness, and Student Support Services, all which are housed in the Office for Student Success, as well as an outpost of the UK International Center (UKIC), and it allows for additional dining space in Champions Kitchen.
“The expansion of the Gatton Student Center creates two new levels of space dedicated to providing services that help our students connect with advisors, advocates and one another,” Turner said. “This new expanded footprint will make accessing these programs even easier for members of our UK community."
Underscoring the university’s commitment to its students and the campus community at large, the Gatton Student Center has become the heartbeat of campus and is an integral space for supporting UK’s academic mission. These newly opened spaces increase visibility of several key resources UK provides to its students and homes in on Student Success’ goal of supporting a diverse community of learners in achieving success through an equitable, holistic and inclusive lens.
"Students should visit the new student center expansion to access services offered by several Student Success units,” Turner said. “Also, based on student requests for additional spaces to gather and connect with one another, the expansion offers a casual seating area and kitchenette for student use on the second floor and a casual seating area on the third floor."
Join the Office for Student Success from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. today, Wednesday Nov. 10, for the grand opening of the newly expanded Gatton Student Center. Attendees can tour the space, play activities, enjoy refreshments and food, and win prizes.
The Gatton Student Center is open from 7 a.m. until midnight seven days a week during regular academic terms, with events held during these times such as films or gatherings for students in the Cats Den.
Tours of the Gatton Student Center are available Monday through Friday. To learn more about tours, click here: www.uky.edu/gattonstudentcenter/student-center-tours. Information on additional units housed in the student center can be found on the Gatton Student Center website here: www.uky.edu/gattonstudentcenter/.
About the newly opened spaces:
DRC: The DRC provides services to the university community so students with disabilities have an equal opportunity to fully participate in all aspects of university life. Serving students with a wide array of disabilities, DRC consultants will meet with students one-on-one to discuss his or her needs and how to be successful at UK. This may result in the student receiving accommodation letters, accommodated test-taking services, alternative text services, community resource linkage, captioning and interpreting services, service animal registration, temporary disability services or transitional services into the workforce.
VIP Center: The VIP Center serves as a place where students, faculty and staff in the UK community can seek confidential services. People come to the VIP Center for the first time for many reasons. Many want to get involved or learn more about the services offered, and others walk in because they or someone they care about has been impacted by sexual or gender-based interpersonal violence. No matter the reason for walking in, visitors can expect to be warmly greeted and immediately connected to the confidential resources.
Financial Wellness: Financial Wellness is geared toward engaging students in financial literacy programs and providing a place for peer mentorship through the MoneyCATS team. Financial Wellness also provides excellent resources for the UK student body to stay connected and well equipped to handle their evolving financial needs.
Student Support Services: Student Support Services is a federally-funded program designed to work with students who are first-generation, low income or have a documented disability. The office provides a holistic approach to working with students designed to aid in retention and graduation.
Off-Campus Student Services: Off-Campus Student Advising fosters and enhances the off-campus student experience through education, advocacy and involvement. The off-campus advisor helps students strengthen their connection to campus and navigate obstacles that emerge from living off campus.
First-Generation Student Advising: First-Generation Student Advising supports first-generation students at UK from recruitment to graduation through research-based programs, resources, best practices and campuswide advocacy about the needs of students who are the first in their families to go to college. Advisors advocate for first-generation students within their colleges and collaborate with other campus offices to provide the best resources to promote the success of first-generation students at UK.
International Center: UKIC leads internationalization efforts at UK. Specialized UKIC staff support UK’s international students who come from over 100 countries, and Education Abroad advisors assist students plan their Education Abroad experience. With offices in Bradley Hall and in Lucille Caudill Little Fine Arts Library, the UKIC’s new space in the Gatton Student Center provides a warm welcome to any student who would like to explore global learning.
The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers." We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.