Believe it or not, we don’t hate the iZone.
In fact, we are pleasantly surprised based on our early impressions.
The aesthetic of the place is sleek and modern and it’s efficiently designed for group study, with its project rooms and booths. So, the place certainly captures the collaborative aspect of entrepreneurship, in line with its branding as an “entrepreneurial space”.
Further matching its bold claims, iZone hosts regular workshops tackling different aspects of problem-solving.
In today’s carbon-coated world, it’s nice to see a push toward getting young minds involved in sustainability problems.
Plus, iZone has partnered with UR’s Hult Prize, a worldwide competition that encourages startup plans for young entrepreneurs.
Did we mention the droves of outlets and whiteboards? Or the increased handicap accessibility?
Events such as Screw-Up Nights, Creators & Catalysts, and What’s the Big Idea?! are common — and commonly well attended.
The space feels like it has a reason to be there. And it feels suitably different from Gleason or Q&I.
Most importantly, students are using it. When you walk into the place, you always see activity.
Of course, any time the school spends big on something, especially a heavy redesign of a space, a healthy amount of skepticism is necessary.
And iZone hasn’t been perfect.
While a huge improvement, the aesthetics are a bit of an overkill and could be an example of monetary waste. To be sure, we’d need to look at the precise numbers. But some things can be estimated without rigor. The chairs, while comfortable, surely cost a fortune. The lights have a distracting tendency to slowly flicker. Furthermore, a few outlets have malfunctioned. And maybe the staircase could use some seating cushions.
But hiccups are to be expected, especially this early in the game.
We can still say, without a doubt, that iZone is putting its resources toward its established goals. Although, it remains to be seen whether and to what extent it will meet those goals.
In any case, it’s already safe to say iZone is a lot less grim than ITS.