The University of West Georgia has formally opened a space designed to put the wind at students’ backs and respond to any question or need they may have.
A socially distanced group gathered Thursday outside the Momentum Center for a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the service-minded space, where UWG students will be provided with resources that will allow them to “stay in motion” and be successful during their higher education career.
Ziada Mengistu, a senior and admissions ambassador at West Georgia, welcomed the crowd of university and community leaders and spoke of her appreciation for the new center.
“As a student here at West Georgia, I am excited to have a place like this on campus where any question or problem I have can be solved,” she said. “Bringing all of the services and resources across campus that can help students into one building shows how committed the university is to positioning us for success now and into the future.”
Designed to align various processes, the Momentum Center provides a streamlined experience where students will find a wealth of information and a team of people ready to help. From enrollment services to advisers, from financial aid to billing and payment specialists, from accessibility services to career services, the center has solutions to any needs and answers to any questions a student may have.
UWG’s president, Dr. Brendan B. Kelly, said he is elated with the new center and excited about the positive impact it will have in the lives of students.
“Nothing should be challenging about going to college except for what students do in the classroom,” Kelly said. “Today, we get to take another important step toward that philosophy to life. Here, we will meet students where they are and follow their every question, concern and need to their conclusion so that they can thrive in the holistic student experience we provide at the University of West Georgia.”
Dr. Jon A. Preston, the university’s provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, said the center is a prime example of how everything UWG’s faculty and staff does is focused on student success and serving students in the best way possible.
“At UWG, we embrace the University System of Georgia’s Momentum Year initiatives and continually look to see how students are doing in the classroom,” Preston said. “The Momentum Center allows us to have a single place that faculty and staff can refer students to so they can get the help they need. It will let us better provide a high-impact, concierge level of service and better meet student needs.”
Following the ribbon-cutting, attendees were invited to take physically distanced tours of the facility to learn more about the services offered. A key tenet of the center is that if a student’s need is not addressed by the offices or programs physically housed in the space, the student will be escorted – not simply directed – to the appropriate office on campus.
The center’s philosophy is grounded in the concept of “transferring the burden” of a student’s concern to the university, Kelly said. Student Government Association President Khareem Leslie spoke on the value this philosophy holds for students, as well as how that value could tie directly to retaining UWG students through graduation.
“My peers and I are extremely happy to have this building on our campus,” Leslie said. “Often, the concerns that will be addressed by the center – if they aren’t resolved in a timely manner – can be the difference between retaining a student for the next semester and their not being able to continue their education.”
Closing his remarks, Kelly also spoke on how the Momentum Center fits into the university’s strategic plan for the future.
“We have embarked on the strategic planning for our future here at the University of West Georgia, and the Momentum Center is a significant step toward our institutional Becoming,” he said. “As we strive to remain relevant and competitive for students in the past, present and future, we must curate spaces like this to ensure their needs are accommodated and that they have the tools they need to be successful.”
For more on UWG’s Momentum Center, visit their website.
Photography by Julia Mothersole