(SEPT. 2)—Students of the College of Engineering (COE) now have somewhere to escape to when they want a break from their hectic studies with the inauguration of the 24/7 Study Area (SA) and the Student Wellbeing (SWELL) Room on Aug. 29 at the COE ground floor.
24/7 Study Area. Located at the ground floor of Melchor Hall near the elevator, the fenced-off area can accommodate 32 students.
Patterned after the Kapihan sa Diliman initiative of the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and the University Student Council, the 24/7 study area has two round tables for group discussions and six two-person tables with study lamps for individual study. There’s also a small open pantry with a coffee maker.
The SA is open to all UP Diliman students, with priority given to those from the COE. To enter, students must register their names on the logbook and surrender their UP IDs to the guard on duty. The SA is also monitored by CCTV cameras.
COE Head Librarian Sharon Maria S. Esposo-Betan said they have already secured commitments from several student organizations to provide lugaw (rice porridge) in the open pantry during the week of final examinations, colloquially known as “Hell Week.”
She hopes that the COE’s many other student organizations will follow suit and take turns providing food for the open pantry.
SWELL Room. For students looking to relax or escape from the rigors of the daily grind the COE Library I now has the SWELL Room.
Open from 8 am to 7 pm, SWELL Room is divided into two areas: the larger free area with large couches, bean bags, napping facilities, board games, aromatherapy and relaxing music; and the counseling room where students can avail of professional help for more serious mental health problems.
The SWELL room also serves as a center for mental health services in the college. Every Monday the FriendlyCare Foundation, Inc. provides lectures on mental health, open to faculty and staff. Counselors from PsycServ will be available for consultation Tuesdays and Thursdays while a counselor from the Office of Counseling and Guidance will be on duty every Wednesday.
“Any student who wishes to deload, just to rejuvenate can go to the SWELL Room to sleep, to relax, to play games, to seek counseling or simply not do anything,” Esposo-Betan said.
Responding to needs. Esposo-Betan said the idea for the facilities began towards the end of AY 2018-2019 when the CS Library reported that their existing 24/7 Reading Room (meant for CS students) was actually being used mostly by COE students.
“The late [CS] Dean Perry Ong chided [COE] Dean [Rizalinda De Leon] that 90 percent of those who use the CS Library’s 24/7 Reading Room are from the COE,” she said.
The COE library conducted a test run from May 16 to May 23 and the response, Esposo-Betan said, was overwhelming.
“It was a full house. May mga nag-donate ng food—it’s an open kitchen—tapos hanggang umaga sila. Iyung iba umuuwi ng mga 11 p.m. That was the signal. I reported that back to the alumni engineers, ang sabi nila, ‘OK Sharon, let’s put up the 24/7,’” she said.
The SWELL Room and the 24/7 Study Area are located at Melchor Hall, away from the Engineering Complex, to cater to COE students living in nearby dormitories.
COE dean Rizalinda De Leon hoped that the new facilities would help realize her vision of the COE “full of students who are inspired, who are highly creative and productive, and happy,” she said.—Anna Regidor, images by Leonardo Reyes and Lex Abdon