Located beside the McMichael Science Center, the Innovation Quad opened its doors in August as a hub for both studying and bringing new engineering resources to Elon. Within its facilities, the building contains Founders Hall, Hunt Atrium, the Advanced Prototype Lab and many other classrooms and study spaces where students can collaborate effectively.
Sophomore Jack Lanzillo, an engineering major, said he visits the Innovation Quad frequently to study with peers and attend classes.
“It’s nice for us to have our own space where a lot of my classmates and I gather together to do homework, or study,” Lanzillo said. “A lot of our teachers have their offices right in here, so it’s really helpful if we have questions for them.”
Lanzillo said it’s been easier to study and work on engineering projects this year rather than last, as this newer space is an upgrade from the former engineering setup in McMichael — where it felt crowded as a double space for science and engineering.
John Ring, the director of engineering outreach at Elon, has both his office and his Elon 1010 class for engineering scholars in the Innovation Quad. He said the environment provides a great collaboration space between students and allows the engineering classrooms features such as electrical drops and moveable tables.
“With all of that, I think it provides the best and most conducive atmosphere for learning. When you walk into a nice building, it’ll do something to your mindset,” Ring said. “When you come in here and see these great technical facilities, I think it automatically elevates your sense of what you want to accomplish.”
Ring also touched upon the objectives of the Innovation Quad, one of which was to accompany the launch of the Department of Engineering — a milestone of the Boldly Elon strategic plan. According to past Elon News Network coverage, the university enrolled 48 engineering freshmen this year — Elon’s biggest incoming engineering class yet.
“The first intention was to bring engineering to Elon, and knowing that if you’re committed to having an engineering degree at Elon, you need the facilities to support it,” Ring said.
Ring said that Elon’s expansion of the engineering program has made it so students can have a bigger space to stretch their ideas and work harder to achieve shared goals.
Freshman Aadi Tripathi, majoring in entrepreneurship, has his physics class in the Innovation Quad and said the classrooms are interesting and something he’s never seen before.
“I like how the classrooms are different; I don’t know if I like it better, but I like how the Innovation Quad has a lot of seating areas that are comfortable,” Tripathi said. “The classrooms are more like chemistry laboratories, but overall I like it.”
The laboratories are filled with prototypes, tools and technology such as virtual reality, and are available for students within the classroom.
Freshman Annika Lotsch, a psychology major, said she uses the Innovation Quad for its study rooms.
“I love the Innovation Quad because there are study rooms where you can sit there alone or with friends, close the door and just study in peace,” Lotsch said. “My go-to study spot is one of the rooms upstairs that has a window that overlooks campus.”
Lotsch said that it’s generally peaceful and quiet in the building, and she thinks it’s because not a lot of students have discovered the space yet. Still, the Innovation Quad hosts many students every day — engineering majors and otherwise — either to study, work on projects or take part in classes.
Elon junior Demya Culp, an arts administration and drama theater studies double major, has been in the Innovation Quad once for a project with her management class.
“We had to go to the Innovation Quad to see the different environments and how it felt inside. As I stepped inside, it felt very structured, cozy and a very welcoming space for an engineering-based area,” Culp said. “There seems to be faculty that are very inspired there, and are willing to help you so you better understand what you’re doing.”