Newly Renovated Den at Harris Field Provides Students with Outdoor Space to Socially Distancing, Socializing | COVID-19 Updates

Students can now relax and socialize in the new on-campus outdoor space known as The Den at Harris Field. The renovated field, located near the Witherspoon Student Center, includes social distancing chairs, fire pits and outdoor games with suspended cafe lights surrounding the field. The Den is open to students Monday through Sunday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

According to Sarah Ketchem, director of grounds and building services, Coca-Cola is a financial sponsor of The Den and provides games for students and a place for student workers to use as a “home base” while they work on field.

The administration discussed the idea of ​​an outdoor gathering space during the winter break due to positive feedback from students about relaxing outdoors on campus in the fall, Ketchem said.

Erica Epps, associate director of event services at NC State Student Centers, said having an outdoor location for students to congregate during this time is very important.

“I think, primarily because of physical distancing indoors and what we’ve learned about how COVID-19 is transmitted indoors versus outdoors, it’s important to have an outdoor space that allows students to have an in-person experience and relax and de-stress from whatever is going on, but also supports their safety and does not create an unsafe environment where germs can spread more easily,” said Epps.

While the space is available for students to gather and relax Monday through Sunday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., Epps said use of the fire pits and games is limited to weekend evenings. The Den is staffed by student employees Thursday through Sunday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., when students can use the foyers and check out the games.

Epps said some of the games that can be viewed include giant Jenga, giant checkers, cornhole, ladderball, and various card and board games. Students can also purchase s’more kits from Talley Market for $3.29, which include graham crackers, marshmallows, chocolate and a fire stick.

Freshman art and design student Kayla Pham said she enjoys spending time at The Den because of the social aspect and atmosphere.

“It’s a super cool way to hang out, but I think it’s also an opportunity to meet people,” Pham said. “Sometimes they organize events, games and music, and it’s really nice. I love the lights here. It’s a very good atmosphere. »

Linsey Dvorin, a second-year nutritional science student, said she was happy to have an outdoor place to relax as she worries about socializing during COVID-19.

“I liked it because it’s a very intimate feeling,” Dvorin said. “The lights make it very welcoming. I also liked it because it’s an outdoor area that we could study that’s safe for COVID-19 because I’m a little crazy about COVID-19, and it’s hard to go to places where there are other people and to always feel safe.

Dvorin said she hopes the administration will create more spaces like The Den for students in the future.

“I would love to see more stuff like that,” Dvorin said. “I just like how it’s very spread out, but there are still a lot of people who can be here. Honestly, I don’t know many other places like this. I know Talley has a few places , but… the chairs are sometimes too close together… I would like to see more.

Epps said students and organizations can book The Den or specific homes, but Rave! Events will accept reservations on a case-by-case basis.

“We don’t want to take the space offline for the students who live on campus and who it’s intended for,” Epps said. “Prevention services go out and organize outdoor garden games from time to time as a temporary event. Stuff like that, we’re happy to book there, but we don’t currently do, like, a restaurant reservation where you can reserve a table.

Student organizations wishing to reserve the space can submit a request through the Rave! Events website.

To learn more about The Den at Harris Field, students can visit the NC State Student Centers Website. Ketchem said the university administration would like to hear student feedback on The Den, which can be submitted via this form.