The Lewis Alumni Centre has been called the “university’s living room,” by President V. Lane Rawlins. The Alumni Centre staff is working hard to fulfill that vision.

“The Alumni Centre is a gift from WSU alumni to the campus community, intended to help bring Cougars together and help WSU achieve its best,” says Mark Wilcomb, director of operations for the centre.

A strategic goal of Alumni Relations is to reach out to the campus community and increase use of the building for WSU’s benefit. Toward that end, Wilcomb is overseeing policy changes and physical upgrades to make the Lewis Alumni Centre an even more congenial place to meet.

The building is being opened up to new and innovative uses. Recognized student organizations are newly eligible to use the centre for special occasion events — like retreats, interviews, receptions for visiting dignitaries and holiday or other celebrations, Wilcomb says.

“Also, we are reminding faculty and staff that they are welcome to use the building for similar events,” he said. The College of Business recently has made use of the professional atmosphere of some of the facility’s rooms to host student presentations. Wilcomb encourages more colleges and departments to consider how they might do likewise.

“We’re willing to work with them and are eager to hear their ideas,” he says.

Recent and ongoing upgrades that make the venue more accommodating include:

• Satellite radio capabilities offering more than 100 different kinds of music. “We can pipe in appropriate background music for most any kind of event.” Wilcomb says.
• Refitted light fixtures. These were replaced by the university as part of WSU’s energy efficiency initiative but have also resulted in a more pleasant ambiance throughout the building, Wilcomb says.
• Landscape improvement and replanting “to make it more colorful and brighten the exterior of the building,” he says.
• Installation of wireless capabilities. This is expected to be completed in time for the fall 2005 semester.

In addition, website renovation will be done during the summer.

Most of the upgrades are funded through the centre’s maintenance endowment, which was created from donations from WSU alumni. “We’ve been saving up to do this for some time,” Wilcomb says.

The Lewis Alumni Centre offers a variety of meeting rooms, outside courtyards and the spacious Great Hall. Advance reservations are required. There is no cost to use the building during regular business hours, but a small hourly charge applies for after-hours or weekend staffing. To see the facilities online, go to http://alumni.wsu.edu/centre/tour/index.asp.

For more information and to make a reservation for your event, contact Mark Wilcomb, 335- 4028 or wilcomb@wsu.edu, or Linda Linehan, 335-2586 or linehanl@wsu.edu.