New Battlefield for an Old Issue

Hilles could be student center, but distance might hinder use

Of the eight Ivy League universities, only Harvard, Brown and Yale lack massive, multi-million dollar centers.

Columbia spent $85 million on building the 225,000 square foot Alfred Lerner Hall in 1999, which students and administrators admit has fallen short as a student center.

Dara Falco, Lerner’s associate director, says the building, with its grand glass ramps connecting the building’s five stories, fills students’ need for space for student group activities, but is not conducive to socializing.

“There are no big, large hangout spaces in the building,” says Falco. “If I had my druthers, I’d be hanging out in my room.”

Kevin G. Galligan, a junior at Columbia, says Lerner is helpful in centralizing mail delivery, but that students prefer to go to the library to study and elsewhere to hang out.


Princeton’s Frist’s Campus Center cost over $40 million and spans 180,00 square feet, featuring a patio, an almost 60-foot-tall glass and aluminum facade, a convenience store, an award-winning food court, lounges and ample student group space.

Gross has been doing his homework on student centers.

He says he visited Frist in December, “just to see what works and what doesn’t.”

He adds that he was impressed with its size and how much students used it.

Frist is located near Princeton’s academic buildings and by campus thoroughfares.

There will be a meeting tomorrow in Cabot House for students to discuss the future of Hilles with Larsen Librarian of the College Nancy M. Cline, Associate Librarian of the College Lynda Leahy and the Masters of the Quad Houses.

—Staff writer Alexander J. Blenkinsopp can be reached at