Campus Life

The Great Good Place offers sanctuary for UWF students and employees

Faculty, staff and students congregated to celebrate the grand opening for The Great Good Place on the second floor in the Pace Library on Tuesday. Formerly office space, the area is now a haven in a central location on the main campus for meetings, group projects or just conversing while on break.

“I’m so impressed with what has been done with the space, and it has a beautiful view,” said Provost Chula King.

The purpose of The Great Good Place is to offer a neutral place for people to converse with their peers, as well as an area for student/faculty meetings. The area is not considered a study area, as the noise level will be kept at a normal conversation level. Two microwaves and three vending machines are housed in one corner, encouraging everyone to eat and socialize in The Great Good Place.

The idea for The Great Good Place originated with UWF’s, Professor Emeritus Ray Oldenburg. Oldenburg wrote a book in 1999 called “The Great Good Place: Cafés, Coffee Shops, Bookstores, Bars, Hair Salons, and Other Hangouts at the Heart of a Community,” and the concept outlined in his writing is regarding common areas for people to socialize. Also referred to as the “Third Place,” The Great Good Place is essentially another common area besides the home and workplace where people gather to converse and build relationships.

“We built this space without technology so people would be inclined to come here and talk to each other. Of course people still bring laptops to The Great Good Place, but at least it’s voluntary,” said Robert Dugan, dean of libraries. “We’ve included round tables instead of square to foster easy conversation within the room.”

With seating for 62 people, The Great Good Place is perfect for any group size. Tables with two to six seats, as well as lounge chairs, make for a welcoming atmosphere.

“What suburbia cries for are the means for people to gather easily, inexpensively, regularly and pleasurably — a ‘place on the corner,’ real life alternatives to television, easy escapes from the cabin fever of marriage and family life that do not necessitate getting into an automobile,” Oldenburg wrote in his book “The Great Good Place.”

Now UWF has its very own ‘place on the corner.’

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