A Quiet Place—The good kind

Karen Eckhardt, HARC Director, has been a staple in creating and planning an incredible space for students.

Melissa Kassens, Staff Reporter

Many college students look for a place where they can study, receive tutor help, learn how to connect with a tutor, join classes virtually (looking at you commuters), receive accommodations and still be able to collaborate with peers in a group setting. Lakeland students have the Hayssen Academic Resource Center (HARC) to turn to for varying needs. Karen Eckhardt, HARC Director, has been a staple in creating and planning an incredible space for students, “My vision from all my years working in public education is that students have to want to be in a place to study,” said Eckhardt. In addition to providing services to students who require accommodations to aid in their success, students seeking tutors and faculty referrals for student tutors, Eckhardt also provides supplies such as pens/pencils, stapler, post-its, highlighters, stress balls, coffee/tea and is always lending her ear to help students whenever she is available. “Those are important to have available, so students feel prepared to be successful,” said Eckhardt.  

 Eckhardt traveled to other campuses to receive ideas on how they are creating a space for their students and has also included unique events such as Harry Potter and Marvel events that included snacks, activities, a photobooth and trivia to help give students a brain break from studying. Christian Gartner, a junior at Lakeland said, “It is a very good place to study and work on things be it group projects or on my own. It is an incredibly convenient and comfortable place to get schoolwork done, especially with my schedule. I can usually leave school without having to do any homework at home because of the HARC.”  Eckhardt has helped create a calm and productive space that added to the updated second floor of the library that includes flex rooms which are comparable to the popular spaces in the Younger Family Campus Center, which include flat screen televisions for group work, two testing rooms, plenty of table workspace, couches and bean bag chairs. In turn, the HARC is accessible to the computer lab and the rest of the John H. Esch Library. “This needs to be an extension of their [students] room, but not as loud and active as the campus center,” said Eckhardt. The HARC has recently added themselves to Instagram and often post events or informational sessions that are happening.  

The HARC has a twenty-year history with Lakeland, beginning when the Hayssen Family Foundation provided the funds to create the academic resource center which originally was located on the third floor of Old Main. The HARC has continued to grow over the years thanks to funding from the Hayssen Family Foundation, the Bemis Foundation and Eckhardt’s dedication. You can follow the HARC @lakeland_harc.