In Sitterson Hall, home of the UNC computer science department, a storage room full of computer servers has turned into an accessible experience lab for students and faculty.
Professor Kris Jordan is the director of the Computer Science Experience Labs program. Pitched to the College of Arts and Sciences last October, it has seen over 2,200 visitors in the past six weeks.
“The undergraduate experience labs are aiming to be a technical experience accelerator with real world technologies, as well as a community hub and a co-working space,” he said.
Junior Christine Mendoza, an ambassador for the CSXL, said she thinks of the community as a type of computer science-focused makerspace.
Jordan stressed the importance of an environment that is built specifically for assisting undergraduates with professional projects — a space that now exists in Sitterson 156.
“Undergraduates have become not only our largest student population, our largest population of people, but they are also the largest employment group in terms of our undergraduate learning assistants,” he said.
The lab takes inspiration from a space in the basement of Sitterson called the ‘App Lab,' but is able to hold more equipment and participants.
The department plans to continue renovations to ensure large collaborative undergraduate group projects, including reserving other rooms for ‘learning labs’ intended for office hours. The lab also expects to see new furniture in the space by the end of the semester.
The CSXL’s technology and renovations are funded through student fees and donations from the College of Arts and Sciences. Current resources available to students include virtual reality headsets and high-resolution monitors.