By now, you’ve probably already heard much about the Milstein Center, like how cold the air conditioning is in it or what its new nickname should be. But what do all 40,000 square feet of the beautiful new building have to offer? We’ve compiled a comprehensive guide to the Milstein Center, from the cafe to the collaborative workspaces.
Walking into the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Center for Teaching & Learning, you’re welcomed by a modernist interior, a great influx of natural light, a bustling coffee bar, and an abundance of soft green chairs, which might end up being the most wonderful chairs you will ever sit in. The building that you are standing in officially opened its doors to the Barnard and Columbia community on September 4, 2018, after years of construction that made parts of Barnard’s campus look, to put it simply, ugly. The construction is over, the lawns have reopened for students to lounge out on beautiful days, and the Milstein Center has now officially replaced LeFrak and Lehman as Barnard’s library.
The Milstein Center, like many of Barnard’s other facilities, is all about women. It was constructed and engineered by a women-lead, women-majority team. Many of the collaborative workspaces in the Milstein focus on empowering women leaders in academia, very much emphasizing STEM fields. The Barnard Center for Research on Women and the Athena Center for Leadership Studies have also relocated to the Milstein Center from their previous location in Milbank.
On the first floor of the Milstein Center, you’ll find study spaces, seminar rooms, a library pop-up space, and the coffee bar. The coffee bar serves Peet’s Coffee (after a blind vote from the student body last spring) along with a collection of food items like avocado toast and sandwiches. These items can be paid for with cash, card, or Barnard points. The first floor also houses the Design Center, a maker space filled with tools such as sewing machines, hardware tools, 3D printers, and laser cutters. Once trained on the equipment, you can visit the Design Center whenever and as often as you’d like. Also on the first floor, you’ll find the Elsie K. Sloate Media Center with a production lab and post-production lab for any producers of digital media, the Center for Engaged Pedagogy for advancing teaching and learning at Barnard, the Digital Humanities Center, which aims to combine technology with the humanities, and the Empirical Reasoning Center.
One floor down, on the lower level of the Milstein Center, lies a classroom, a conference center, the Claremont entrance (though you’ll need swipe access for it), the tunnels connecting to Barnard Hall, Altschul and Diana, and the Movement Lab. The Movement Lab is a new addition to Barnard’s campus that focuses on the interdisciplinary study of dance. Its goal is to essentially “enhance critical thinking and learning through body-and-brain connection as it seeks to explore emerging trajectories in art science and technology.”
More study spaces can be found on the second floor, along with the library circulation desk and book collections (including the Alum Collection and Zine Library), IMATS offices, the IMATS equipment room, and an outdoor terrace open for students to soak in some fresh air. The third floor has even more study spaces and another outdoor terrace, more book collections, and offices of the personal librarians. The fourth floor consists of more study spaces, even more book collections, yet another outdoor terrace, the Archives Special Collections and Reading Room, the Athena Center for Leadership Studies, and, most notably, the First-Generation Low-Income Partnership (FLIP) collection. The FLIP collection aims to provide textbooks and other course materials to Barnard, CC, SEAS, and GS students who identify as first-generation and/or low-income.
In line with President Beilock’s focus on STEM at Barnard, the fifth floor houses the Vagelos Computational Science Center. The Computational Science Center has a computer classroom with a visualization wall, allowing students to collaborate on code and share ideas, a CS/Math Collaborative Space that includes a math help room, a lounge, and a connector to Altschul. The Milstein Center is all about innovation; its study spaces consist of group study rooms, adjustable desks and counters, and interactive display boards and touchscreens. Overall, there are over 370 study spaces and over 1,200 seats for flexible working.
The sixth floor is dedicated to the Barnard Center for Research on Women, and the remaining floors consist of faculty offices, with the Urban Studies department on the seventh floor, History on the eighth and ninth floors, Economics on the ninth and tenth floors, and Political Science on the eleventh floor. There’s also a Faculty Salon on the ninth floor.
The Milstein Center hours can be found here, as it’s unfortunately not open 24/7. Students will have to use their CUID for access to the library circulating collection (which encompasses several study spaces) after 6 pm Monday through Thursday and on weekends.
Slick beautiful Milstein via Zack Abrams