Thanks to generous donations from two couples, the students at NIU’s School of Nursing can decompress in a comfortable on-site lounge.
The lounge has always been an oft-used respite for nursing students who attend nursing classes further away from NIU’s main campus. But the furniture had seen better days, and the room lacked appropriate spaces for studying, gathering, relaxing and recharging batteries – both personal and electronic.
When NIU alumni Earl and Cindi Rachowicz (’73) and Clay (’66) and Ethel Hock (’65) asked Nursing School Chair Jan Strom how their contributions could support students, remodeling the dilapidated lounge was suggested. A gift from the Rachowiczs made the lounge update possible. Furniture was reupholstered, new tables added, walls painted and adorned with photos, and new carpet installed.
The serenity room, an enclave off the main lounge, received an update as well, thanks to the Hocks’ gift. This room, with soft lighting and comfy furniture, including a gliding rocker, offers a quiet space for reflection.
Including the serenity room was particularly important to Ethel Hock, who was a leader in her nursing school class over 50 years ago.
“Things were very stressful when we were students,” Ethel Hock said. “I’m sure things are even more stressful now.”
The Rachowitczs agreed.
“We come from stressful situations. We understand the need for a place for students to come and recharge their batteries,” Cindi Rachowicz said. “We’re delighted so many students will use this room.”
More than 70 nursing students and faculty attended the lounge grand re-opening Nov. 16. One of those is nursing student Rachel Shapland, a junior from Peoria, who thanked the Rachowitczs and the Hocks for their contributions.
“Our lounge was falling apart. We live in this lounge. We don’t have other places to go when we are out here. Now, we have options,” Shapland said. “We are grateful and thankful. You’re investing in our future.”