Students Complete the New Cellar

The ITI has a new space where students and professors alike can meet and relax. What was once a dusty, unused cellar is now a hangout spot complete with comfy couches, a billiard table, and even a stage. Perhaps more remarkable than the finished cellar itself is the fact that it was organized and executed entirely by students.


The idea arose from a simple need: students needed a place indoors where they could come together even when it was late. Part of the castle’s basement had already been converted into a stunning Byzantine chapel, perhaps this could be done for a student space? After careful planning and many meetings between the student representatives and the ITI, a deal was made: students would provide the labor, the ITI would provide materials and lunches, and the facilities manager would be available for practical direction if needed. Lastly, the renovation had to primarily take place during the six days immediately following graduation.


Thus began the cellar crew’s first week of summer break. The team of volunteers had offered their support months prior to show that students were willing to carry out the project, and this they did, by deep cleaning, hammering, sanding, painting, and finding furniture. Befitting the fourth pillar of the ITI, which is community, many students volunteered in order to work together with friends to achieve something beneficial and lasting for future students. Even graduates stayed the extra week for the opportunity for fellowship.


Despite still recovering from final exams and final goodbyes, the crew was not content with the bare minimum of dusting and throwing a carpet here and there; the goal was to make the space appealing. The floor was not just swept, but also painted. The stage could have been left as merely nailed plywood, but students finished it with carefully measured and recycled planks from the castle’s old flooring. Likewise, an old bench was not only sanded and painted, but topped off with a tile mosaic designed and set by students.


Now, the only thing left for students to do is to use the cellar--a task they're eager to take on.