Corvinus University of Budapest built a new, student-friendly, innovative and friendly co-working space. The community space connects students and study administrators, making communication flexible and faster. We asked project manager Péter Major about the challenges of the project, the success of the investment and the functions of the co-working space.
Co-working offices are becoming more prevalent around the world as they are flexible, easy to use and support ideas. It is still in its infancy in Hungary, but if we look around the world's leading universities, we can see that there are already co-working spaces in many universities. “That’s why Corvinus University has also decided to create a common space where study administration takes place among the students. In case of conventional student administration, the emphasis is on administration, while the development of the new coworking section has created a paradigm shift that allows us to get closer to the students” - emphasizes Péter Major, Head of Student Services at Corvinus. The special feature of the co-working space at the university is that it performs many more functions than a traditional co-working office:
1. Getting closer to the students: According to the feedback, one of the biggest problems for the students was the shortness of the administration time limits. It was considered too formal, which was difficult to adjust to. The co-working part allows for faster and smoother administration, as during the teaching hours, every working day of the week our students are met by the Student Services staff, who can be contacted with any and all problems.
2. The focus is on student support: in addition to the administration of study matters, the counselling closely related thereto as has been emphasised already so far. In the future, the goal is to broaden and deepen this - from the support task related to studies to career counselling. “Students can turn to us with any and all problems,” says Péter Major.
3. Friendly, safe environment: “we want to provide a comfortable, homely environment where new projects can be born, where students can sit down at any time to study, talk, and which is also equipped with technical equipment – with everything from sockets to monitors,” adds Péter Major.
Investing in a community building
Although it was a significant investment for the university, according to Péter Major, “building a co-working office is one of the best investments on the part of the university, as it can really stand out from its Central European peers. Very few universities have a service that connects the two sides of the university environment - students and university staff”. As mentioned in a previous interview, one of the main goals of the renewal of Corvinus is to become the leading university in Central Europe. However, this requires being innovative and unique not only in education but in the field of services as well. In addition to making students ’lives easier, the co-working office also plays a major role in community building. “Students can really study and think together, and participate in project work. There are larger tables in the office area that can accommodate up to five or six. It can help a lot in building community throughout Corvinus and making students feel at home. ” says Major Peter.
In a virus-free period, one of the biggest benefits of the new office is that students can use it at any time. While the consultation rooms can only be used for a pre-determined period and also need to be booked, the co-working area is always open to students. “While library rooms are more like courtrooms, the coworking section giving space for freedom and creativity while integrating into the everyday life of the university. We want to take this concept through all the co-working spaces we will be building at the university in the future.” - emphasises Péter Major.
Interior design challenge and the success of the project
“Creating a community space was a huge challenge, since the Corvinus building is a very prestigious building with unique architecture, where it was difficult to create a 21st century, modern community space,” says Péter Major. The two sides of the community space are made even more impressive by a green wall, which also gives the place peace and a homely atmosphere. The idea for the project came up based on a spring survey completed by the students (nearly 1,000 feedbacks), so its success will also be measured in this way. “The spring survey received a number of requests from students regarding student community spaces, which we would like to address by building a co-working office. We can say that the construction of the coworking part will be successful if we get a much higher score in the 2021 questionnaire and the students really confirm that we have created value for them with this new space.” Written by: Belayane Najoua, Cover image: Zsanett Örsi