Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Healey Family Student Center Reopens

After two years, the Healey Family Student Center (HFSC), an iconic community space featuring cozy fireplaces and beautiful view of the Potomac River, fully reopened for student use March 14. 

The HFSC closed for student use after Georgetown University switched to remote operations in March 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The HFSC contains multiple social and study spaces, including study rooms, event spaces and cafes. The HFSC Great Room has been used as a COVID-19 testing site since Nov. 2020, providing free PCR tests for Georgetown community members through One Medical, a primary care provider.  

Kirk Zieser/The Hoya | The Healey Family Student Center reopened at full capacity March 14 after two years of closure.

Students across campus have spent the week enjoying the reopened space, finding community and enjoying the social atmosphere. 

Nicolas Gardner (SFS ’23) said the HFSC offers great views for studying. 

 “My main reason for liking the HFSC the most is that it has huge amounts of sunlight, and just a lot of good views and scenes, a lot of windows that look onto beautiful views,” Gardner told The Hoya. 

Hilltoss, a student-run salad and coffee shop located in the HFSC, reopened to students last fall and offers additional study space in the building. 

Kyanah-Isabelle Fabre (MSB ’22), who has worked at Hilltoss since spring 2019, said the reopening has brought more students into the shop.

“We’ve definitely seen an increase in foot traffic, which is always good,” Fabre said in an interview with The Hoya. “I think we were in a tougher position earlier in the year just with it being a testing center, and with the university being closed for a year and a half, we lost awareness with the underclassmen specifically.” 

HFSC study rooms reopened early February and are available seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 9:45 p.m. for student use.  

The openness of the HFSC study rooms fosters community, according to Yi Rong Mei (NHS ’23). 

“I think that’s the way it’s designed — to facilitate good conversations,” Mei said in an interview with The Hoya. “It’s just the mental boost to be in that space, in comparison to Lau, which is not ideal.” 

Khadija Abid (MSB ’23), who used the HFSC study rooms before the university switched to virtual operations, said she is glad the rooms have reopened.  

“I used to study in the HFSC a lot as a freshman back in 2019-20 and I mostly used the main rooms, but I would occasionally use the study rooms whenever they were available,” Abid said in an interview with The Hoya. “I just think that it has a better atmosphere and made it easier to see people throughout the week, so I’m sort of excited to get that environment back.”

Lia Gilleran (COL ’25) said the HFSC offers the best of the other study spaces on campus, including Lauinger Library and Sellinger Lounge, an open study space located in the Leavey Center.

“It’s nice that there’s a new place to study,” Gilleran said in an interview with The Hoya. “They’re much nicer than Lau — less gloomy, but there’s still some privacy, which is different than Sellinger, which is nice.” 

Gardner said the rooms’ lighting creates a productive and comfortable environment compared to Lauinger Library.  

“A lot of the study rooms on Lau 2 don’t have windows or anything, so at times it just feels like I’m just not receiving any natural light, it feels like I’m in a box and it’s just not very conducive to studying I would say,” Gardner said an interview with The Hoya. “That contrasts quite heavily with the study rooms in the HFSC, where even if I don’t have a direct window in the room, I still feel like it’s very productive; there’s natural light coming in.” 

 The Leavey Center will be the central testing site on campus as the HFSC reopens to the community, according to a university spokesperson.

“In order to provide more study and community space for students on campus, the university consolidated COVID-19 testing on the Main and Medical Center campuses,” the spokesperson wrote. “The space may be used in accordance with the University’s current public health guidelines.”

Gardner said the reopening of the HFSC brings back a sense of normalcy.

“I already know that I’m going to love it,” Gardner said. “I get to walk past the HFSC every single day on the side looking towards the Potomac, I get to look inside and see people working there and it brings me a lot of joy to see that the HFSC is back in business and to see people diligently working there.”

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