Students enjoy a musical performance at the grand opening of the Blue Oasis student center
By Anisha Joshi
Although it came right before finals week, the grand opening of Duke Kunshan’s much-anticipated Blue Oasis student center on Oct. 17 gave students a good reason to lift their heads out of their textbooks and enjoy some good music and food.
Students, staff and faculty members all took time out to mark the opening of the brand-new space, which covers two floors in the Dayu Bay commercial area, a five-minute walk from campus.
The day began with hourly tours of the building and culminated in an array of musical performances in the evening prepared by members of the Duke Kunshan community.
“I had a lot of fun,” freshman Saad Lahrichi said after the performances ended. “We don’t really have a place like this on campus, so it’s really cool that we have the student center now. Seems like a fun place to hang out with your friends and just chill.”
Some of the spaces for student activities at Blue Oasis
The excitement was as strong among sophomores, too. Mozhu Zhang said she sees Blue Oasis as a potential spot to hold activities and meetings for the KEY Club, her community service group. She added, “It’s a plus that we’re close to a bubble tea shop and other places where we can easily get food.”
The building, which the university has leased for five years, is replete with areas for quiet study, closed rooms where students can hold club meetings, and open spaces for socializing and hosting group activities.
Walking into the building, the first thing one notices is the abundance of open spaces with natural light streaming in from the massive glass windows, which makes for a relaxing atmosphere.
The first floor has a large, airy room with small tables, an ideal space for studying or just enjoying a bite to eat with friends. Another feature is a circular room with large windows and seats, ideal for hosting talks and presentations.
The second floor has study spaces and team rooms with computers, as well as open spaces that can be utilized for recreational purposes, such as game nights, and a conference room. Next to the study spaces are storage lockers that can be used by the center’s student workers and members of university clubs.
There is also a semi-soundproofed music room stocked with a drum set and other musical instruments, while a second-floor balcony with tables and chairs offers a spectacular lakeside view of Dayu Bay.
“Looks like this is going to be a great space for DKU students to hang out and have fun,” said Kim Hunter Gordon, assistant professor of Chinese and performance studies. “I hope there are lots of interesting parties and performances and events.”
Blue Oasis was conceived from the need to provide a space removed from academia where students can host club activities or just hang out with their friends. With the campus still in its second phase of development, the university had lacked such a space, so the student center was established to help build a vibrant student community.
The Dayu Bay commercial area is the perfect location. Not only is it close to campus but the student center is also surrounded by stores, coffee shops and eateries.
Raphael Moffet, dean of student affairs, said he hopes students will utilize the center to its fullest. “This should be a space where students can relax and create meaningful college experiences beyond academics,” he said.
Anisha Joshi, Class of 2022, is a member of the Student Media Center.