Business in the Front, Fun in the Basement
WRITER: Jordan Gonzalez is a freshman from Wenatchee, Washington, majoring in anthropology.
PHOTOGRAPHER: Madelen Johansson is an international student from Tibro, Sweden, and is majoring in interior design.
Marketing student uses research to support his college and colleagues
The Albertson Building is a familiar place for students across the University of Idaho College of Business and Economics. It houses classrooms for learning, offices for meeting and a basement. But the basement isn’t much to look at: There are a couple of chairs, a couple of tables and spotty Wi-Fi, but it doesn’t have the atmosphere to combine the two aspects of learning and meeting. Not yet, anyway.
Senior Micah Johnson and a team of other students have a plan for that space. Johnson, 21, of Portland, Oregon, is double majoring in marketing and modern language business, which combines language study and business courses, with an emphasis in Spanish.
The 2015-16 school year brought a group of nine interior design and marketing students together to reimagine the Albertson basement, with the support of faculty including Johnson’s advisor, associate professor of marketing Mike McCollough.
The team spent the semester finding a design that would excite the college’s students, and sought the feedback of professors as well. Interior design students studied design techniques used to bring people together. The business students put together surveys to find out what students wanted to see happen to the space.
Johnson says the primary goal of the design was to create a space that students could use when they work to do individually or in a team, especially since business students frequently have group-oriented projects. The interior design students figured out a design based on principles used in coffee shops.
“Students need a space that allows them to be as successful as possible,” Johnson said. “We did a ton of research to allow students to be successful in doing homework, studying and doing group projects together.”
After the students finalized their decisions, they presented their plan to the College of Business and Economics Alumni Advisory Board, and the project was approved. The nine students did the presentation together, and it was a chance for Johnson to have real-life presentation experience. Five of the six business students in the class graduated last year, making Johnson the last to see the project through. The next steps for the project is to bring in a professional architect to work out everything that needs done.
Johnson will graduate in May 2017, so his time on the project is nearly over, but it was time well spent.
“I would recommend anyone do this,” Johnson said. “It was fun. It really was.”