Chapel basement gets new look after extensive renovations

The chapel basement reopened its doors after it underwent significant renovations. Featuring an expansive idea board, the Office of Service, Spirituality and Social Responsibility (SSSR) welcomes all students to use this whiteboard wall to express themselves and their ideas. Other renovations include colorful carpeting, new paint and lights with dimming features, which will encourage students to take advantage of the up-to-date space.

“We’re hoping that students will start to use the space more often to gather and talk about civic engagement, volunteerism, getting involved in the community—sort of like a community center,” Assistant Director of Community Service and Engagement Cassie Peltola ’14 said.

“We also hope students can use this space and its resources to explore their own faith and the faith of others to become more globally aware,” Chaplain Bernie Hinckley added.

Along with the updated space, the Office of SSSR is also searching for suggestions regarding the name of the office itself. 10 years ago, former Dean Vereene Parnell named the Office of Service, Spirituality and Social Responsibility based on the idea that students could come to the chapel basement and explore their values through the three components in the name. While the name has remained over the past decade, the staff believes that a change will give students a clear vision of what the mission of the office is.

“We want students to understand the breadth of what we could offer in the office,” Peltola said. “I think currently there are some misconceptions about the name. For example, some people believe that all of our community service has a tie to spirituality, but that’s not always necessarily the case. We want a name that conveys more clearly the role we play or could play on campus.”

Although the office is located in the chapel, Peltola does not want students to be intimidated by these religious ties. The office is holding its annual Holi celebration as well as the Give and Go Yard Sale. Along with these events, a town-wide cleanup of Norton is in the works for this semester. Channeling the energy on campus regarding what is happening on the news, the office aims to support students in learning about these issues and to work with them toward solving them.

“If there is something students want to do, we want to see or hear about it,” Peltola said. “Come visit us! Let’s work together to change lives and strengthen communities.”