The lobby of Eshleman Hall will open 24 hours a day between Wednesday and Sunday starting Aug. 15, according to Henry Isselbacher, chair of the ASUC Student Union board.
According to Isselbacher, this change is a response to a current lack of 24-hour spaces on campus. Although Cory Hall and Soda Hall are open 24 hours a day for EECS students, Isselbacher noted this only serves a small fraction of the student body.
“We wanted to find a way to get more space open for everyone on campus,” Isselbacher said. “My hope is that it ends up being a very successful program and that we have a lot of demand for the space.”
Isselbacher added that the rest of the building will revert to its normal hours, opening at 8 a.m. and closing at midnight. These hours are longer than the more recently established hours prompted by COVID-19 and will also apply to the lobby on Mondays and Tuesdays, which will allow for deeper cleaning of the area.
The expansion to 24 hour availability marks the fulfillment of a 2010 campus commitment to 24 hour spaces in the union buildings, according to Isselbacher.
“Now there’s going to be a space, a safe and comfortable space on campus where you can go (at night) and you know that you’ll be able to get your work done,” Isselbacher said. “For such a big and otherwise very robust campus, this is one of the biggest things that Berkeley is lacking.”
Isselbacher said changes intended for student support are also planned for the lobby. These include the filling of unoccupied vendor space and other dead space, a snacks and drinks kiosk focused on international options, vending machines and lockers for supplies and games.
The transition will be entirely cost-neutral and use existing staffing, Isselbacher said. The UCPD security patrol officer assigned to Eshleman Hall during building closed hours will staff the lobby during nighttime hours.
Both students and staff have expressed “overwhelming support” for the project, according to Isselbacher. He added that a successful pilot and high demand for the space could lead to expansion, particularly into the Martin Luther King Jr. building.
“A lot of people are thrilled that we’re really getting back to our model of serving students first and being a hub of student life and activity on campus,” Isselbacher said.