The University of Louisville Student Activities Center is the beating heart of Belknap Campus. But what does it have in common with Harry Potter? Brittany Wildman, the new director of the SAC who started in December 2021, took time out of her schedule to answer a few questions for UofLNews and make the magical link.
UofL News: The Student Activities Center is the student hub on Belknap Campus. Why do you think it is so important for students to have this kind of gathering space?
Wildman: The space the Student Activities Center provides to students in institutions across the country is irreplaceable. I was telling a member of my staff that the SAC is similar to the Mirror of Erised (the magical mirror in ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’) because it is a space that students can go to find what they need. Students can eat, sleep, study, spend time with friends, work, get involved, and spend informal time with both staff and faculty of the institution. The learning that happens outside the classroom for many students is as important as the learning that happens inside the classroom, and the SAC is the best place for these opportunities.
UofL News: What do you want UofL students to know about the SAC that they may not know? What makes the SAC special?
Wildman: I have been to about 30 student unions across the country, and each one is special in its own way. Most important, they serve the campus they were built on, and UofL is no exception. The SAC was built for a campus that is both commuter and residential with a focus in research. That is evident as the spaces within the SAC are designed for eating, studying, and gathering with organizations. The SAC has a lot to offer the almost 40,000 students it serves each week, around 8,000 per day.
Among my long-term goals is to provide a student employment experience to students in the SAC that is something they can use to build their resumes. I also hope to find ways our students can serve the patrons of the SAC so that events are not only a joy for the clients but a learning experience for students. We will continue to assess and discuss long- and short-term goals based on the needs of our students.
Where’s your favorite spot in the SAC, or do you have several favorites? What programs are you looking forward to enjoying this semester?
Wildman: I love so many spaces in the SAC, and I continue to find new spaces in the 422,000 square feet of space. If I had to pick a few of those spaces, I would choose the Red Barn for its history and the people that are so passionate about the community it creates. I also love the lounge space on the second floor. Students make spaces in these facilities their own, and this space has become a quiet space where students can go to think, relax, eat and study. It is such a versatile space with so much light and action.
The events I am looking forward to this semester are endless, but mostly I look forward to being able to host more events for students in these spaces. Covid-19 has limited what we are able to offer, and what students are comfortable attending. So, as we prepare for orientation this summer and bringing new students to campus, I am looking forward to all that we can offer our fall 2022 first-year students.