IU celebrated breaking ground on the Stephen L. and Connie J. Ferguson International Center in a ceremony Wednesday morning at the Shreve Auditorium in the Global and International Studies Building.
The new center will provide programming and support services for students studying abroad or interested in studying abroad. It’s also meant to help international students and students who study abroad interact and collaborate. It's designed to house organizations and events, including space for meetings for internationally-focused student organizations. It will also accommodate academic and government delegations from other countries who regularly visit IU.
The 40,000 square-foot, four-story building will be at the corner of Jordan Avenue and Seventh Street across from the Global and International Studies Building.
According to the release, the center was funded, in part, by a $5 million gift from IU alumni Stephen and Connie Ferguson.
Stephen Ferguson said although the center is for the university as a whole, it’s specifically designed with the student body in mind. He said he wants IU to feel like home.
“The important part of it is the people who work in the facility,” Ferguson said. “The bricks and mortar is one thing, but it's the people that work there that are going to make these students feel friendly, like they’ve come home, like they’re part of the Indiana University family.”
IU President Michael McRobbie said the new center is designed to combine the needs of domestic and international students on IU’s campus.
“This splendid new building will house services and board offices for each of these students and create the opportunities for interaction and collaboration between these two student groups,” McRobbie said.
According to the release, the IU-Bloomington campus ranks sixth in the nation out of around 1,000 colleges and universities in terms of the number of students who study abroad. IU has more than 7,600 students from 147 countries across all campuses.
Enerel Ganbold, a junior from Mongolia majoring in international studies, said her opportunities as an international student at IU were enriched by the on-campus organizations she has joined and the resources provided by IU. She said this center will aid future students in finding the same sense of community.
“I believe that the construction of the new international center will be an important factor in creating a unified center for students, faculty and all of the resources for the international community on campus,” Ganbold said. “I have no doubt in my mind that the students will take advantage of the great opportunities that the center will hold.”