The Ashbrook Center will be experiencing a change of scenery in the upcoming months as they move from the eighth floor of the library to a space in the Dwight Schar College of Education building.
The Ashbrook Center first took up residency in the library in 1983 and has since gained more scholars every year, with the program currently educating 120 students. With the center moving to Schar many are hoping that number escalates to at least 200 or more.
Ben Kunkel, the director of student programs at AU for the last seven years, has been working for Ashbrook for the last 20 years, having seen the many changes the program has been through.
“The Ashbrook Scholar Program is growing,” Kunkel said. “That is one of the main reasons for the move as our current space is just too small for the number of students and staff that we have… We are also expanding our summer programs for high school students, the Ashbrook Academies. We started those programs seven years ago with one week-long academy. This coming summer we will be conducting eight-week-long academies.”
Further plans the program has in the works will continue once the move is initiated later this year.
Jeff Sikkenga, executive director of the Ashbrook Center, said “We just had the memorial dinner with [former] vice president Pence, that was a big event for us. We have events coming up in the spring, we have a major issue lecture series and we are expecting to have two events there. We haven’t nailed it down yet, we have a pretty good idea but we are very close to having a set schedule but when we do we will announce that publicly.”
The budget surrounding the move has not yet been set but the university has donated a $50,000 grant used to assist the move.
“The college of online and adult studies and the correctional education program,” Sikkenga said. “Those two are the main ones, there’s a list of 8, 9, or 10 other projects that have received some of that fund.”
As far as moving facilities goes, many are looking forward to the new building and creating a new environment for the program.
John Moser, department chair of history and political science, said “I’m thrilled; all of us in the department are. I started the move just this afternoon. It will take a while before we’re entirely settled in, but Schar is a vast improvement over Andrews.”