New year, new changes at Ferris

Organizations and programs are looking forward to what the new year has to offer

Disclaimer: Kylah Robison, one of the new heads of Sistah Circle, is a reporter for the Torch.

With the welcome of the new year, Ferris is also welcoming new changes and opportunities all around campus.

The north campus area has been buzzing with excitement and construction sounds. Next door to Hallisy Hall, the Center for Virtual Learning is currently under construction. The building is expected to be finished and in use by the fall 2023 semester. The new building will be home to education and technology students.

“The computers in the lab are going to be upgraded,” digital animation and game design freshman Jason Zawacki said. “Right now we can’t run the newest version of Unreal Engine, but in those labs we will be able to.”

With the newest edition of this program, digital animation and game design students will be able to spend less time developing 3D games. With more resources to build bigger and more visually interesting games and graphics, many more opportunities will become available. Additionally, the labs will be open for twenty-four hours. This provides students with the opportunity to use the lab and its resources whenever they need to.

As a digital animation and game design associate professor and esports coordinator, Varun Singireddy is excited for a specific feature.

“One main problem we are going to solve is faculty offices,” Singireddy said. “Digital animation and game design classes [will] be on the same floor [and] the same building as faculty offices.”

Originally, digital animation and game design classrooms were located in the Interdisciplinary Resource Center, while faculty offices were located in Bishop Hall.

Next door to the Center for Virtual Learning is the FLITE building, home to the Office of Multicultural Student Services. The OMSS is looking forward to getting back into the swing of things. This year, according to Chelsey Brownlee, the coordinator of Pre-College Programs, the OMSS is hoping to bring back conversations on race. 

“I do see us getting into more intellectual conversations on campus,” Brownlee said. “Discussions were led by students with the support of the safe space of the Office of Multicultural Student Services.”

There is more hope to host more events this year to raise awareness in the community and on campus. One of these events is the multicultural graduation ceremony, which happens in the spring. The OMSS is hoping to host a fall commencement ceremony in the future. Last year, President David Eisler gave the commencement speech at the ceremony, so they are hoping to get President Bill Pink involved for this year.

One of the highlights this year is the GearUp grant, which totals up to $253,440. This grant money will help serve the current student population at Ferris.

“With additional funding we can have more after-school tutors on site,” Brownlee said. “We’re also able to provide field trips [for] anything that pertains to college programs or career readiness.”

Last semester, Sistah Circle, an organization for Black women on campus, was taken over by two new students after the previous organization heads graduated last spring. Journalism sophomore Kylah Robinson and social work junior Keonie Thomas-Russell are the two students that stepped up to the task. Under new leadership, Sistah Circle is hoping to continue down the path the founders paved.

“I am sticking to what the founders want us to do: unify women on campus, especially minorities, by giving them a safe space and [an] open space to be themselves,” Thomas-Russell said.

The goal for Sistah Circle this year is to help spread the word that they are an open and safe space for anyone who is looking for one.

“It’s all sisterhood,” Thomas-Russell said. “It’s about giving women a place to learn more about themselves and let them know that you are not alone on this campus.”