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CSD Student Development Center - RITpedia
CSD Student Development Center
55 CSD.jpg
Name CSD Student Development Center
Building Number 55
Abbreviation CSD
Zone H-4

The Communication Service for the Deaf (CSD) Student Development Center (SDC) is the new social and cultural center of campus life for RIT's deaf and hard of hearing students. The CSD Student Development Center also is a home for the NTID Student Congress, Student Life Team and multicultural clubs. It will also house a coffee/tea shop, a large multi-purpose meeting/conference center, a study center, and informal spaces that will facilitate interaction and socializing. Recognizing the critical need for students to feel connected and learning that goes beyond the classroom, the CSD-SDC provides opportunities to strengthen students’ ties to the college, foster interaction with faculty and staff, and become a hub of campus activity, thereby improving students’ academic and personal success while they persist to graduation and obtain outstanding careers.[1]

Original Concept

"NTID has a long and rich history of supporting programs that nurture students' academic and personal development. Missing from this history is the cornerstone --both in the physical and philosophical sense --of a gathering place where education can continue day and night in a centrally-located, safe, supportive atmosphere, a place where students could embrace, enrich, and celebrate their unique talents and spirits. The NTID Student Development Center would by its very presence reinforce NTID's mission --to prepare students who are ready for life's challenges, ready to contribute to society, and ready to take their place as the next generation of deaf leaders. When the dream of creating a Student Development Center becomes a reality, NTID will have taken perhaps its largest step to date in ensuring that all students who enter its doors have the best possible opportunities for total growth and development conducive to their birthright of independent living."

This excerpt from one of the original concept documents for the Student Development Center, serves to highlight the vision and purpose of the space. Inherent to the success of this dynamic cornerstone of on-going education is the dynamic nature of the building's events, activities, and daily business. It was certainly proposed, and remains a goal, that as this facility seeks to prioritize and value the student experience, it odes so in a manner that welcomes, values, and includes the participation of a larger community of faculty, staff, and our greater RIT community. Learning does not happen in isolation, and therefore the invitation and inclusion of a multi-faceted learning community can only serve to strengthen and rejuvenate the education and development of all.


"The CSD Student Development Center began as a conversation in 1997 between Debbye Byrne, Sean Furman; NSC's President and Vice President, and Dr. Robert R. Davila; NTID's Vice President. Sean is particular expressed concern that there was inadequate gathering and office space for student clubs and organizations, making it very difficult to truly come together as a community. Dr. Davila was convinced this too was important, and the SDC moved at that moment from a conversation to a dream. And the journey to its creation began".

Tiger Walk

"NSC leaders kept the conversation alive, and the dream in the minds of administrative leaders for the next three years. In winter of 2001, at the request NTID's leadership, Alim Chandani, Daniel Millikin; President and Vice President of NSC, Debbye Byrne; then a Coordinator on the staff of NTID's Student Life Team, and Karey Pine; Manager of the SLT and Advisor to NSC all sat down to draft what would be the first words written about a student development center. It was to be a building for and about our student community, connecting Dining Commons and LBJ. It was to be round, visual, have offices, and small and large meeting spaces. This would be a place to celebrate the vibrancy of NTID's community- past, present, and future. In that one-page document the SDC had moved from dream to concept".
Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

"In the winter of 2003, the thought of a student development center- still in the hearts and minds of NTID's student and administrative leadership- would gain attention once again. An expansion of the one-page concept paper was developed along with materials outlining and showcasing the leadership development efforts and opportunities that were very much alive in our community. This was all in preparation for a campus visit from Dr. Frank Turk, a senior member of the leadership at South Dakota's Communication Services for the Deaf. Dr. Turk, a long-time leader and expert in the field of student development and leadership in the Deaf community, had been invited to campus to review NTID's student programs and services, and provide us consult on our current concept of a student development center. Dr. Turk left NTID impressed with the strength of our community, and so taken by the idea of this student development center that he returned to South Dakota, and mentioned the idea to the President of CSD, Dr. Benjamin Soukup. Dr. Soukup, a long-time supporter NTID's leaders to begin discussing how he might support the construction of a student development center. The Student Development Center had moved from a concept to a proposal".

"In the fall of 2004, Dr. T. Alan Hurwitz, Vice President and Dean of NTID, and Dr. Soukup used the backdrop of NTID's Applefest to publicly share that CSD would proudly be making the initial gift to NTID for the purpose of constructing a student development center. In spring of 2005, the student community led NTID in thanking Dr. Hurwitz and Soukup and celebrating the ground-breaking of this new facility. The CSD Student Development Center had moved from proposal to project".

Lively Entertainment

"Construction for the CSD Student Development Center began in fall of 2005, and continued through the entire academic year, and into the summer of 2006. By early fall of 2006, Sarah Gordon and Harold "Kamau" Buchanan; NSC's President and Vice President, were asked to lead the effort to move the student organizations into their new offices. NTID's Student Life Team- the only staff office to have space in this building- was also moved in and settled. And, after a successful fall quarter of getting used to the place, on November 9, 2006, NTID Student Congress' past and current Presidents and Vice Presidents, NTID's administrative leaders, alumni, students, faculty, staff, and supporters from Rochester and throughout the country gathered to dedicate and celebrate the CSD Student Development Center. The SDC had moved from project to reality".

1997-2007 NSC presidents & vice presidents

"Throughout its evolution, the building has been a vehicle for bringing students, faculty, staff, and administrators together in dialogues and partnerships. The leadership of NTID has always committed itself to inviting and attending to student feedback and thought. And, as importantly, the student community, led by the Presidents and Vice Presidents of NSC has always committed itself to an honest, respectful, firm, and caring conversation about what was necessary for the student community to grow and thrive- not just for themselves and today, but the great thought and concern for the future as well. What a tremendous gift we have in this community and this extraordinary facility that surrounds us!"[2]

Karey Tompkins Pine, former director of Student Life Team department

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world...Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." -Margaret Mead. This quotation printed on the picture frame with all former NSC presidents and vice presidents' signatures and their hand paints. See the picture on the right. Celebrating their dream turned into reality are past NTID Student Congress presidents and vice presidents. Sitting left to right are: Matthew Sickon, Elizabeth Sorkin, and Alim Chandani. Second row standing from left to right are: Chamroeun Dee, Karriefh Norman, Debbye Byrne, Cassie Haynes, and Christopher Samp. Third row standing from left to right are: Charles Sterling, Kamau Buchanan, Sarah Gordon, Daniel Millikin, Mark Sullivan (Schwartz), and Jonathan LeJeune.



Construction on the $4.5 million CSD Student Development Center at NTID. Named for Communication Service for the Deaf, Inc. (CSD), which committed the first lead gift for the two-story, 30,000 square-foot center, the facility will be connected to NTID’s Lyndon Baines Johnson Building. The decision to build the Student Development Center required substantial modifications to the Hettie Shumway Building in which the Commons was located. To implement the change, the Commons itself was renamed to reflect the name of the building, as the new floor plan did not provide any way to honor Hettie Shumway's contributions to the university. The Commons closed for renovations in the spring of 2005 and reopened in the fall of 2006 with a new facade and seating area. The renovation included a modest reduction in the number of seats, the addition of a Quiznos franchise and the addition of the first Brick House pizza in addition to the Stone Oven pizza. In the fall of 2007 Brick House closed, leaving Stone Oven as the only pizza served at the Commons. In the summer of 2010, Quiznos was replaced with Shumway Subs & Salads.

Evolution of the Student Development Center

2008, New Artwork Spruces Up

Two permanent art installations have been placed in the CSD Student Development Center. Both artists have strong links to NTID. "Dance of the Gingko," is by Iowa artist Joan Webster-Vore. Her two sons have hearing loss. Through her sons, she gained a new understanding of visual communication and how it impacts our perceptions of the world. The installation consists of 18 long strands displaying more than 200 hanging gingko leaves made of copper wire and translucent paper. The leaves are connected such as hands making the "friend" sign. The second installation is by 2005 RIT/NTID MFA graduate Leon Lim. His piece, featuring three vertical rows of different woods and lights, is called "3(656)" -he says a number is more interesting than a word. Lim said the three panels consist of 656 pieces of wood and Plexiglas veneer. Eventually, a panel will be added with 656 stories and anecdotes about NTID's history.[3]

2011, NTID Student Congress' Office

NTID Student Congress' office had been through an unfortunate facility maintenance-related incident. A water plumbing in the wall of the coffee shop, College Grind, next to NTID Student Congress' office had been leaked. The part of the carpeted floor was damaged. It required some repairs. The part of the carpeted floor was replaced with the laminate flooring.

2011, Ellie's Place

a popular lounge area, Ellie’s Place, named this spring in memory of Eleanor Rosenfield, NTID’s associate dean for Student and Academic Affairs who died in 2010. The "Ellie's Place" sign and cushioned chairs have been placed at the lounge area on the 1st floor.

Cassie Haynes Student Advisory Board

Cassie Haynes Student Advisory Board is still in process to become a student board which focuses solely on the design, infrastructure and processes of the building so that present and future generations of students can maintain a sense of home at Student Development Center.[4]

Cassie Haynes graduated from RIT in 2006. She was a former vice president of NTID Student Congress in 2004-2005. She also previously served as a Resident Advisor for Ellingson/Peterson Hall and she was heavily involving in NoVoiceZone. She passed away on April 4, 2008 in her sleep. She was only 25 year old. She was a natural community leader at Rochester Institute of Technology.

External Links


  1. Student Development Center Shines. Page 2. RIT/NTID ParentNews newsletter. (Fall2006Winter2007).[1]
  2. A Milestone in NTID History Comes to Life. Page 3-5. NTID FOCUS magazine. (Fall 2006/Winter 2007). [2]
  3. NTID News. New Artwork Spruces Up Student Development Center. (April 9, 2008). [3]
  4. ReporterOnline. NTID Student Life Team. (January 23, 2009). [4]