Campus - 09.03.2021 - 00:00 

A place for encounters and innovations – the HSG Learning Center, a melting pot

Since 2019, a new building has been under construction on the Rosenberg, directly adjacent to the Library Building of the University of St.Gallen. This building is intended to serve as a place where the university education of the future will be tested and shaped – the Learning Center. Yet this unique place will offer much more than an extension of the learning space available to students of the HSG.

9 March 2021. “The Learning Center is not a second library, it’s a special place, a field of experimentation which contains the HSG’s DNA and is only becoming possible through this strong HSG community,” says Florian Wußmann, project leader of the HSG Learning Center Management. As delegates of the President’s Board, he and Dr. Dominik Isler are creating the conditions required for the promise of the Learning Center to shape the future of learning and teaching to be fulfilled.

A meeting point

In the Learning Center, learning will not only take place hierarchically but primarily in co-creation with faculties, students and alumni. People often refer to the notion of the “melting pot” in connection with the Learning Center. What they mean is that in this place, various contents, perspectives and groups of people will come together which would never have met otherwise. Encounters between HSG students and alumni, artists or visitors are intended to stimulate a dialogue and cooperative learning. In this way a place will be created “where people want to stop and stay,” says Dominik Isler – also because no day is like another. Thus visitors to the Learning Center will meet participants in an external seminar one day and witness an HSG student association event the next.

Exploring new territories

“The magic of the Learning Center derives from a variety of sources: from the curricular and extracurricular formats, as well as the encounters which will become possible in this place,” emphasises Dominik Isler, thus referring to the overall concept of the building. This concept is based on three specific content-related levels: the curricular, the extracurricular and the informal levels. The first will combine existing and new formats of the various schools, with the Learning Center becoming a “display window of outstanding HSG formats which transcend disciplines and borders,” says Florian Wußmann. Conversely, the extracurricular level will provide space for public debates such as a debate about Europe policy or a panel of the GameStop share rally. If, for instance, students and speakers meet at such an event, the Learning Center will provide rooms and opportunities to continue interesting discussions in more depth after the event. Thus the HSG community may meet special guests over a drink in the cafeteria of the Learning Center at the third, informal level. This level, in particular, is meant to stimulate students’ curiosity and prompt them to turn the Learning Center into a “3rd place” – a place which, besides their home and workplace, will become an important component in the lives of all regular visitors.

Field of experimentation and place for dialogues

An example of a daily programme will provide outsiders with a more detailed impression of what will take place in the University of St.Gallen’s showcase project. This will include spontaneous discussions in the atrium of the building, group work, projects with practice partners, and completely new formats. At all events, the Learning Center is a place of new ideas and full of flexibility. It stands for innovation in university education that knows no borders. Those who leave this place, no matter whether they are alumni, students or visitors, will see the world with different eyes, will be ready to cross borders, to see change as an opportunity and to assume responsibility in the economy and in society in a creative manner. And they will want come back time and again.

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