Travis Willmann

International relations junior Sarah Wilson studies at the Flawn Academic Center on Monday afternoon. Student Government representatives have proposed extended hours for both the Flawn Academic Center and the Belo Center for New Media.

Photo Credit: Ethan Oblak | Daily Texan Staff

Students looking for late-night study spots when the Perry-Castañeda Library is packed may be in luck. Student Government representatives proposed two resolutions requesting more late-night study options on campus.

The first resolution calls for extended hours at the Belo Center for New Media. The Moody College of Communication building located on the corner of Dean Keeton and Guadalupe streets is currently open until 11 p.m. If the resolution is implemented in the building, it may be open until 2 a.m. all week.

The second proposed resolution is in support of opening the Flawn Academic Center on a 24/7 basis. This semester, the FAC is open until midnight on weekdays until finals week, when it becomes open for 24 hours.

The recent proposals do not mark the first time SG has worked to open a building on a 24-hour basis. In 2012, an SG resolution led to the PCL opening for 24 hours, five days a week. The PCL has continued to operate with a 24/5 schedule beginning around the midway point of each fall and spring semester.

“Gate counts definitely rose after the institution of 24/5; in 2011 (prior to 24/5) we had 1.67 million visits to the PCL, and that number was over 1.71 million last year,” UT Libraries spokesman Travis Willmann said in an email. 

Currently, other late-night study spaces on campus include: the Texas Union, open until 3 a.m.; the Student Activity Center, open until 3 a.m.; and the PCL, which is open until 2 a.m. On Oct. 12, the PCL will begin operating on its 24/5 schedule.

Ruben Cardenas, Moody College of Communication representative for SG, said the Belo Center for New Media would be an added convenience for students who live far from the PCL.

“We thought this is an area close to West Campus, close to the dorms, that students utilize,” Cardenas said.

The FAC would serve the same purpose, according to SG President Kori Rady.

“There’s always a need for more collaborative study space on campus,” Rady said. ”The PCL is often filled to the brim, and this gives students another place to go.”

Rady said the proposal for extended hours at Belo is still in the beginning stages, but Roderick Hart, dean of the Moody College of Communication, agreed to look over the plan and discuss it with college officials.

He said he hopes to implement the 24-hour FAC plan within the current school year.

“It’s simply just a funding issue,” Rady said. “They have every capability of doing it 24/7 FAC. We just need more money.”

The cost for extending the FAC hours is $81,790, according to Rady. Taral Patel, author of the resolution and University-wide representative, said SG representatives working on the proposal are seeking funding from the Student Services Budget Committee and the President Student Advisory Committee.  

According to Willmann, the 24/5 PCL schedule is funded by University Athletics. He said it costs more than $40,000 to keep the building operating with its current schedule.

Rady said security measures have not been fully explored at Belo since the plan is still in the works, but, at the FAC, there are options for student security guards, a hired security guard or UTPD patrol in the surrounding area — the current security method during the 24-hour schedule for finals week.

“We need consistent 24-hour places to work,” Patel said. “I understand the PCL does this during midterms and during finals, but people have plenty of tests scattered in between year round.”

The Perry Castañeda Library is making the trip to the library a little easier with an all-in-one service desk.

During the summer, the PCL is under construction to create a student services desk that will include both circulation and reference services in an effort to expand study space, according to UT Libraries Communication Director Travis Willmann. 

Willmann said the new service desk is a move toward more efficiency for the library, with one desk to return books and get library information. 

“It’s to create more space for student use and make sure students get all they need at one stop,” Willmann said.

Construction will take place throughout the normal work day so the desk is ready at the beginning of the fall semester, Willmann said. He said the library is often updated with minor changes during summer months.

A wall will be put up to separate the construction from the library to help reduce noise. Willmann said earplugs are available at no charge to students who want them.

Biochemistry major Jaynie Nguyen believes the noise from construction should not be a problem, especially if there are quiet floors.

“It’s going to be a positive change for staff and students,” said Maggie Bond, a PCL service desk employee and information studies graduate student.

While the new service area is being completed, library patrons can use the temporary service desk across from the construction on the ground floor.

Follow Luqman Adeniyi @StopnLuqman.

This doodle, from one of the Perry-Castañeda Library's whiteboards, was uploaded to the UT Libraries Flickr account online.

Photo Credit: Frank Meaker | Guest

Students who sought relief from end-of-the-year stresses by doodling on the whiteboards in the Perry-Castañeda Library just might be famous on Flickr.

Beginning in the spring of 2010, the library staff began uploading whiteboard drawings to photo albums on Flickr during the finals period. Some students write snarky and inspirational phrases, while others draw longhorns or superheroes.

The photos are taken throughout the semester and are examples of how students find relief during stressful times.

"It's been real, it's been fun, but it ain't been real fun," read a drawing uploaded May 9.

Library staff said students have responded positively to their newfound Internet fame and have begun signing their work. In just five days, the spring 2013 photo album received more than 8,000 views on Flickr. The fall 2012 album got more than 75,000 hits aftert UT shared it on its main Facebook page. 

"I think it's art therapy," said Perry-Castañeda Library spokesman Travis Willmann, who uploads the images and manages the Flickr page. "I think it's there to creatively and constructively blow off some steam during some pretty intense work during this time of year."

The Flickr albums are not well-known, but some students have become aware this is an ongoing project, Willman said.  

"We have a regular now, and he is signing his artwork," Willmann said. "He does it on a pretty regular basis."

The most recent uploaded artwork from this student, whose signature is sadly not legible, looks to be a soldier from the popular "Halo" series, limping forward without an arm.

"Push on through," the caption on the photo reads. "It's almost over." 

The last day of finals for most students is Tuesday. Graduation ceremonies begin on Friday and the main commencement is this Saturday.

Until then, it's back to the drawing boards. 

To see more photos from the Perry-Castañeda Library's whiteboards, check out this slideshow below:

 

Photo Credit: Olivia Kwong | Daily Texan Staff

As students prepare for sleepless nights spent relearning a semester’s worth of class material, facilities throughout campus are making accommodations to help students make it through finals.

Campus buildings are staying open later, expecting more students and aiming to reduce stress for the next two weeks. 

UT Libraries spokesman Travis Willmann said several libraries will be open for extended hours. Perry-Castaneda Library will stay open around the clock seven days a week instead of five through May 14. 

Willmann said the Walter Geology Library in the Jackson Geological Sciences Building will expand hours and the Life Science Library will provide coffee and cookies during dead days and finals.

“In the final stretch of the academic semester, we recognize the increased need by students for space and access to the libraries and its resources,” Willmann said.

Willmann said staff members will work double-time to keep spaces orderly, while copier services will make extra rounds to ensure adequate toner and paper.

“We also have a new healthy food vending machine on the first floor of PCL for on-site munchies, and we’re working to organize another visit by the therapy dogs from Austin Dog Alliance on May 6 to help alleviate a bit of the crushing finals anxiety through some quality face time with man’s best friend,” Willmann said.

Crystal King, University Unions associate executive director, said the Student Activity Center will maintain its regular hours of 7 a.m. to 3 a.m., but all meeting rooms will be available to students as study space. The SAC will offer students free breakfast tacos at 11 p.m. on May 6 and free pancake breakfast at midnight on May 7.

“The purpose of these events are to support the four-year graduation rate efforts and provide additional study space for students during this very important time of year,” King said.  

Texas Union will have a study break snack room in the Eastwoods room between 10 p.m. and midnight, serving kolaches and fruit May 6, breakfast tacos May 7, yogurt and fruit May 8 and grab bags at the hospitality desk May 9.

King said the Student Services Building will have meeting rooms available for studying through the night, although the doors will lock at midnight.

Even off-campus sites such as Jenn's Copy and Binding plan to be open on the first days of final exams, according to owner Jenn Hillhouse.

Facility Services spokeswoman Laurie Lentz said during the exam period, project management and construction services suspends building renovations. Lentz said landscape services decreases its use of noise-producing equipment from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. including blowers, mowers, trimmers and chainsaws. Solid waste and recycling will begin work at 5 a.m. instead of 6 a.m. to reduce noise.

“This type of work is moved as much as possible to areas of campus not being heavily used by students,” Lentz said. “In the areas of facilities upkeep and renovation, we do take some steps during finals to help create a quiet environment.”

SURE Walk, a free Student Government service that aims to protect students walking during late hours, moved its headquarters to the Perry-Castañeda Library in hopes of better serving students and increasing its visibility.

The agency provides volunteers to escort students, faculty and staff walking to or from campus between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. A male and a female volunteer from trusted student organizations provide the walks.

“Our goal is no one walks alone at night,” SURE Walk director Ben Johnson said. “It’s about creating a movement of students helping students.”

Johnson said the agency decided to move to a visible location at the entrance of the PCL after it saw increased foot traffic when it started operating on a 24/5 schedule in October. Travis Willmann, spokesperson for the PCL, said the library saw an 11.8 percent increase from 223,115 visitors in October last year to 249,585 visitors in October this year.

“We have a lot of freshmen incoming that weren’t used to using the library in high school to study, and it may have taken all this publicity with 24/5 to make students realize this was a place where they could come and do a lot of studying,” Willmann said.

Normally, Willmann said, visits to the PCL usually increase 1-4 percent annually. Because PCL was 24/5 for only half of October, Willmann said he expects visits to increase between 20 and 25 percent in November.

Johnson said because of this increase in foot traffic at the PCL, he hopes more students will learn about SURE Walk.

“The goal is for more students to see SURE Walk when they leave the library,” Johnson said. “A lot of students have approached the desk.”

Last year, SURE Walk was located in the Student Activity Center and before that it was in the Flawn Academic Center. Johnson said a lot of people did not see or hear about SURE Walk in these locations so they did not know what it was.

“Our biggest hope is people will find out what SURE Walk is,” Johnson said. “We’ve been doing a big publicity push this semester.”

Johnson said SURE Walk averages five requests a night, but he hopes to increase to 10 or 12 each night next semester. He said since moving to the PCL, the agency has seen a small increase in number of walks requested.

Wills Brown, vice president of UT’s Student Government, said SURE Walk will stay in the PCL next semester, when the library will no longer be 24/5, until mid-semester. Brown said SURE Walk stops working at 2 a.m., the time the library normally closes before 24/5 starts again.

Printed on Monday, Nov. 26, 2012 as: SURE Walk moves headquarters to PCL

Student Government Vice President Wills Brown and President Thor Lund accomplished a campaign goal of keeping the PCL open 24 hours a day, 5 days a week. 24/5 PCL began Monday and will continue until the end of the semester.

Photo Credit: Chelsea Purgahn | Daily Texan Staff

After Monday’s launch of the 24-hour, 5-day-a-week schedule for the Perry-Castañeda Library, UT students will no longer worry about relocating during tedious all-nighters for the remainder of the semester.

University of Texas Libraries and Student Government kicked off the PCL’s 24/5 service Monday evening by handing out free pizza, prizes and T-shirts to students. Students waited in a line that wrapped around the PCL to celebrate the launch of the new schedule. More than 800 students said they would attend via Facebook.

The PCL will now be open from noon Sundays through 11 p.m. Fridays and will maintain regular hours Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Student Government President Thor Lund and Vice President Wills Brown promised students a 24/5 PCL during their campaign in March 2012 and Lund said the two were not opposed by UT Libraries or fellow Student Government members.

“Wills and I felt that students needed a safe study space that they could access all hours of the night, and there was not one that was available to students,” Lund said. “Many of our peer institutions and neighboring schools have 24-hour libraries. It only makes sense that we would provide a 24-hour study space on campus as well.”

Travis Willmann, communications officer for UT Libraries, said this is not the first time PCL has offered 24/5 services. Willman said UT Libraries cut funds for the PCL in Spring 2002, which was operating on a 24/5 schedule at the time. He said funding for the 24/5 service includes costs of electricity, maintenance, replacing more broken furniture, custodial services and security guards. He said current funds from UT Libraries alone could not cover the cost of a 24/5 schedule. 

Lund and Brown proposed the 24/5 PCL to various campus groups to gain interest and funding support for the initiative. The Student Services Budget Committee contributed $20,000, the Office of the Provost and Office of Student Affairs each contributed $10,000 and the Texas Exes contributed $5,000 toward the effort.

Lund said Student Government is currently looking for permanent funding for the 24/5 PCL to keep the extended hours.

“We hope that sometime soon we will be able to announce that [permanent funding] has been secured to continue benefiting future Longhorns for years to come,” Lund said.

Biomedical engineering freshman Amanda Nguyen said she believes she will get more work done now that the library is open 24 hours.

“My dorm room can be very distracting,” Nguyen said. “Now I will be able to study longer and accomplish more.”

The 24/5 service will be offered from now until finals. The PCL’s hours will return to the previous schedule next semester until the beginning of midterms.

Printed on Tuesday, October 16, 2012 as: PCL 24/5 launches for midterms

Jose Quezada, 12, reads a Naruto graphic novel while waiting for dismissal at Cedar Creek Middle School Thursday afternoon. UT Libraries has joined the READ promotion in which they’ve distributed posters of UT mascot Hook Em  reading in various settings to 655 schools encouraging students to read more.

Photo Credit: Pu Ying Huang | Daily Texan Staff

Posters of Bevo and Hook ‘Em reading on the beach, in a chemistry lab and at the stadium have filled the libraries at local schools, encouraging kids to pick up a book and read.

UT Libraries joined the American Library Association’s READ promotion to produce four posters of the UT mascots. They have been distributed to 655 schools in the Texas Education Agency’s Region XIII area since mid-September.

UT Libraries spokesperson Travis Willmann said once the posters were distributed and the images appeared online, he began receiving positive feedback and requests for posters from teachers, librarians and UT fans. He said more than 50 teachers asked for posters during the first week of distribution.

“As soon as we put it out there we got a good response through emails and Facebook,” Willmann said. “We had somebody contact us from as far away as Colorado Springs to find out how she could get the posters.”

Dixie West, a librarian at Cedar Creek Middle School in Bastrop ISD and a UT alumnna, said receiving the box of posters to find her mascot was a nice surprise. She said she emailed UT Libraries to express her appreciation.

“The first one I saw was the one with the band, and I was in band at UT so it just made my day,” West said.

West said the posters fit well with the middle school’s initiative encouraging its students to pursue higher education.

“Each teacher has the college they went to on their door, and we have posters for universities up in halls,” West said. “We encourage higher education of any kind, so things like this are great.”

Boone Elementary librarian Tina Shands said the faculty at her school also show their collegiate pride to emphasize the importance of higher education.

“Even though we are an elementary school, we want them to be college-ready,” Shands said. “The kids will recognize Bevo and UT, and it will definitely encourage them to read. They love them.”

Willmann said the current posters are available online as free downloads, but if the interest increases, full-size posters may be sold to reach other schools outside the region.

The READ promotion, which began in 1985, frequently features celebrities and actors. Willmann said the positive response to the mascot posters could lead to others featuring celebrities associated with the University.

“We didn’t go with a celebrity. We thought the mascots would be cost-effective and didn’t anticipate such a positive response,” Willmann said. “We have a wish list in mind of some UT alumni we would like to get in contact with. We would also like to get suggestions from students.”

Printed on Friday, October 12, 2012 as: Libraries use mascots to promote reading

Thao Le, a student associate at the Perry-CastaƱeda Library, loads books onto shelves Tuesday afternoon. The PCL will operate on a 24-hour basis starting mid-October as part of a Student Government initiative.

Photo Credit: Zachary Strain | Daily Texan Staff

To provide students with a safe study space late on campus this semester, the Perry-Castañeda Library will operate on a 24-hour basis starting mid-October.

After a Student Government initiative, the PCL will operate on a 24-hour basis five days a week, or 24/5, starting during this semester’s midterms. The library will be open for 24 hours Sunday through Friday, closing at 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday evening. Last year the latest the library was open was until 2 a.m. Monday through Thursday.

The initiative will cost around $40,000 per year, which will pay for a new security guard and additional maintenance and upkeep costs. The Student Services Budget Committee is paying for half, and University Libraries and the Provost’s Office are splitting the rest.

Travis Willmann, spokesperson for the University of Texas Libraries, said the library will not extend the hours it checks out books, operates the Information and Research Help Desk and offers other librarian services, but will function as a safe study space for students late at night.

Student body president and vice president Thor Lund and Wills Brown won the election with the goal of 24-hour library in their platform. Brown said they campaigned as the “24-hour PCL guys.”

Lund said it is also potentially a safety hazard to kick students out at 2 a.m. because some buses don’t run that late. Brown said the library will remain safe late at night with a security guard at the front desk and another one patrolling the library.

“After 10 p.m. you still have to show your student ID, so I think in terms of safety concerns we’ve addressed most of them,” Brown said.

The PCL operated on a 24-hour basis in the early 2000s, but the University reduced its hours after a decrease in student traffic late at night. Willmann said students weren’t using the library’s resources that late because they didn’t need the books, but now they need the study space.

“Students are less reliable on books and more reliable on space and electronic access,” Willmann said. “There have been very dramatic changes in the way students use the library. We’ve reached the point when students really like and need this space.”

The John Peace Library at UT-San Antonio operates on a 24/5 basis. Unlike UT-Austin’s student-led initiative, the John Peace Library operates on this schedule starting the first day of class. Staff at the John Peace Library are available to check books out to students at all times, and the school does not require students to show an ID to enter.

UTSA spokeswoman Anne Peters said UT-San Antonio is not in the middle of an urban area. Therefore, it does not have the same safety concerns as UT-Austin might. She said operating a library 24 hours has led to some unusual occurrences.

“In the past year or so, we’ve had someone dressed up in a Wookiee costume from Star Wars, and come to the library in the middle of the night and high-five students,” Peters said. “We think it’s somebody who just wants to give students a spirit lift in the middle of the night.”

Correction on Aug. 29: The print version of the story stated it would cost $40,000 a semester to keep the PCL open 24 hours for five days. The $40,000 is actually the total cost for the year.
 

Extreme heat conditions have forced Austin’s homeless population to seek refuge in air-conditioned settings across the city, including areas on and around campus.

While UT students and faculty can avoid high temperatures in their air-conditioned offices and classrooms, homeless people do not have the same resources to keep themselves cool during this record heat wave.

Mitchell Gibbs, director of development and communications at Front Steps, a local nonprofit providing resources to the homeless, said finding shade and water sources is a high priority for those without a place to live. He said in addition to homeless shelters, public buildings such as hospitals and libraries are frequented by the homeless because they often provide both.

Perry-Casteñeda Library spokesman Travis Willmann said the library is open to nonstudents, as well as UT students. Willmann said he has noticed an increase in library visitors this summer and feels it could be related to the heat.

“We’re open to the public, so we get people from the local Austin community who may come in off the streets and use our place to relax,” Willmann said. “Anybody can walk into any building on campus, and I think occasionally you have incidents, but there’s nothing of note on a regular basis.”

Kinesiology senior Kassandra Knapp said she visits the PCL approximately once a week and has noticed others at the library who she believed were not students and might be homeless. She said she identified them by tattered clothes and a general “out-of-place” appearance.

Knapp said she never felt frightened by homeless visitors in the library, but feels the issue could possibly become a breach in security someday.

PCL spokesman Travis Willmann said library administration is not aware of any serious incidents occurring because of nonstudent visitors.

John Elford, senior pastor at University United Methodist Church, said the church’s Open Door Ministry aims to provide support to the homeless community living around campus. Elford said the church formerly allowed a small group to sleep in their parking lot, but no longer allows people to rest overnight on their property because the group became larger and potentially destructive.

“I know there’s several volunteers who know these folks really well,” Elford said. “When it gets hot, everybody’s a little touchy. I’ve noticed people have more personal issues in this weather.”

Elford said there may be an increase in attendance at Open Doors worship services because they are held indoors and provide escape from the heat. The ministry currently provides transportation, clothing and meals to displaced workers and the homeless population, he said.

Although University United Methodist no longer provides overnight accommodations, Gibbs said the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless managed by Front Steps provides day and overnight sleeping arrangements. Gibbs said while surviving the heat is a concern for those who live mostly outside, finding meals is not difficult because of the many ministries like Open Doors that reach out to the homeless. He said the facility has also provided approximately 800 bottles of water per day to people in need, and staff members are trained to identify heat-related medical concerns and make necessary hospital arrangements.

“In years past we haven’t had the same ongoing temperatures, but we saw more folks coming in suffering from heat-related illness,” Gibbs said. “This year we’ve only had a couple folks that look like they need medical attention, and I’m sure that’s because we’ve been able to provide water.”