Whoa… Did Northeastern Just Get An Apple Store? An In Depth Look at the Coolest Room On Campus

Very soon, you will begin to hear how the new Northeastern Visitors Center is beyond awesome. And you will think “Oh come on, how cool could it really be?” And, as you are about to find out, the answer is: very. very. cool.

Without further ado, here is the first thing you will see when you approach West Village F, notice the alluring LED light displays diffused through the windows, and open the doors:

For this post, I’m going to assume that most of you saw the above picture and are ignoring this silly text, but for those of you that are sticking with me, you will get to hear about some of the little details that make the Visitor Center great. First off, do you see the fellow on the right the iPad in his hands? He is one of the greeters with iPads like you find at the Genius Bar at an Apple Store, which they use to check you in for your appointments and tours.

And what might you do after you are checked in? Well, feel free to ogle over what is probably the sweetest piece of technology here at Northeastern, the huge interactive touch screens.


You can use your finger to swoosh around the circles, and the boxes expand to display a large catalog of media, student profiles, and information about Northeastern.

If after playing around with these neat pieces of technology you feel the need to sit down and take it all in (and maybe offer a moment of silence to the “Engineering Stargate” and the Curry flat screens for no longer being the hottest thing around anymore), have a seat in the swanky waiting area.

Yes, they are as comfy as they look.

The Visitor Center has been getting some rave reviews, which it completely deserves, so be sure to check it out for yourself! In the meantime, here are some more pictures:

You can spin the globe around and look at the different international experiences students have had.


34 responses to “Whoa… Did Northeastern Just Get An Apple Store? An In Depth Look at the Coolest Room On Campus

  1. This seems like a waste of money. Northeastern is already receiving the highest number of applicants of any university. Wouldn’t this money be better spent on a new dorm or upgraded science facilities for the students who do end up coming here?

    • If you look around campus, several residence halls, the library, and other buildings are all currently being renovated, and it looks like NU is moving forward with building a new residence hall behind the YMCA. Personally, I don’t mind money being spent to improve the campus, especially when it involves sweet touch screen walls.

      • I think this is disgusting. Since when does spending money on prospective students take priority over the students, faculty, and communities already committed and bound to the university? Yes the university is doing some fantastic, well-deserved renovations (see Curry, etc), however this use of tuition dollars is untenable. How about putting money in the academic programs? Or into the much needed renovations of classrooms and academic facilities? Or into broadening the co-op program? Or better yet, re-investing in the communities of Roxbury, Mission Hill, and the South End in which the school has thrown residents deeper into poverty (over 1 out of 3 children in Roxbury lives under the poverty line now)? If you don’t mind Northeastern spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on touch screens, I would seriously reconsider your perspectives on what the purposes of academic institutions are supposed to be.

          • Students living in those areas (because there’s not enough/expensive housing on campus) have caused rent in those areas to skyrocket.

            • Okay, so due to a wide variety of economic factors and increased demand for housing in the area, housing prices have risen in ways not advantageous to the current residents. Not “Northeastern throws neighborhoods into poverty.”

          • I assume that’s a reference to housing challenges near campus. With the on-campus wait list exceeding 800, the demand for off-campus housing pushes the prices of apartments near Northeastern way up – forcing many students to move to Roxbury/the Hill to afford a place to live.

          • Students drive up rent which drive families out of a lot of the nicer neighborhoods. I agree, Northeastern would be better suited to invest in education in the local communities or scholarships for local high schoolers coming from Roxbury, Jamaica Plain and Dorchester. Many of the 11 worst performing schools in Boston are no more than a few miles from Northeastern. An investment in the communities would do a lot more for Northeastern’s pool of prospective students than an “Apple Store”. Northeastern also pays next to nothing to the City of Boston in terms of all the property it owns and city services its students use, just $800,000 while BU pays $5 million. And just a few years ago NEU was paying $30,000 which is less than one student’s tuition. Students notice these gross wastes of money, whether it’s flat screens every 3 feet or a flashy arch or a flamboyant prospective student lounge. My studies and work experience through Northeastern have explored issues of poverty or disparity in education and asks me to be a leader in problem solving while Northeastern is just part of the problem in Boston. A University building which compares to an Apple Store is just embarrassing.

            • You do realize how much larger BU’s campus is compared to Northeastern’s, right? I mean, they have 3 T stops dedicated to their campus. Before this, also, NU didn’t have a proper Visitor Center. When I went there, I never knew where to point prospective students.. “Curry, I guess?” is all I could say.

          • One thing to note is that the projects on campus are creating jobs for people locally. Upgrades, renovations and new projects stimulate the economy which results in new jobs for people getting to keep their jobs.

        • Who said that spending money on prospective students took PRIORITY over the current students and faculty? As the anonymous poster before you said, along side this project, Northeastern is also renovating residence halls, the library and various academic buildings. Where do you think the majority of your tuition dollars go? This fancy futuristic apple store-esque visitors center? In 2010 NU had a total of 20,530 full-time students enrolled. That gives them about $760,000,000 in tuition alone. Not counting our endowment. Not counting generous alumni or other donations. So let’s assume for your sake that this project cost “hundreds of thousands of dollars” (ie. $900,000). That would mean this cost them about 1/10th of 1% of 1 year of tuition income (0.118%).

          You also then have to realize that on some level, Northeastern is a business. It needs to make money. If Northeastern didn’t invest in recruitment, enrollment and retention methods/strategies/programs then it would have no future. There would be no incoming freshmen class. The university would eventually shut down either because they have no students or they have no money (you can’t make all your lovely professors, janitors, facilities people, police, administrators work for free!). So, yes, while Northeastern did indeed have the highest amount of applications among any private university in the country it didn’t happen by sheer happenstance. Somewhere out there (most likely in either Richards or 716 Columbus) certain people made decisions to advance and improve Northeastern as a higher education institution. And finding the balance between pleasing faculty, staff, current students, prospective students, and even alumni is for sure a tedious and difficult task. There is no solution where Northeastern could please all of their publics. If there were, Northeastern (along with every other academic institution) would obviously implement it. The University has to please its financial stakeholders or it wouldn’t be able to obtain needed funds. The University has to please the media or risk bad press (and a bad reputation from new students, high schools, and even employers). The University has to please various government agencies. They need to maintain their accreditation. They need to keep obtaining the federal grant funding that goes towards the awesome research our institution performs. They need to maintain good relationships with the state and Boston police. The University has to please the greater community (such as Roxbury, Dorchester, Fenway, Mission Hill, etc). And of course, the University has to please you, the student.

          So just stop your whining and complaining. You can’t make everyone happy all the time. The next project Northeastern will probably make you happy and someone else upset. Just get over it and move on with your life. You’re at an amazing university, given ample opportunity to further your education as well as your career and personal growth. You are in the prime of your life. You’re alive, breathing, and (I assume) have water, food, and shelter. You’re life could be a lot worse off. So be glad for that at least and stop making baseless allegations (could you show how you determined that Northeastern threw residents of surrounding areas deeper into poverty?) I’m sure a lot of people would be interested in seeing your research on that.

          • Great post! I have no respect for students who choose to attend a private university and then complain about the high tuition and annual tuition increases. If you want low tuition, go to a state school: UMass, UConn, SUNY etc.

            • If I had more than three classes left to take at this University, then I’d transfer. No question. I went to this University because it had a proud history of quality education reinforced by experiential learning, and a solid culture of hard work. Now that we’re phasing out the 5-year co-op program, spending millions on flash around the campus, and stooping to the sneaky number-inflating tricks the other colleges do, I think we’ve lost what made us great in the first place. Sure, we were always the quirky kids on the block with our middlers and working-man mentality, and we suffered for that in the rankings. But we were unique and offered our students the best education to be prepared for their future. I was proud to be a Husky, but it means something completely different these days.

              • The 5-year co-op option is NOT being phased out. Please educate yourself. There is a 4-year option with one fewer co-op and the 5-year co-op option that has existed for decades. It’s not going anywhere; the 4-year is an OPTION not a requirement.

  2. What about money being spent on improving classrooms, attracting better professors and research? That’s where I think NEU continues to lack.

    • I agree, we should be attracting more research. I think this is somewhat promoting that though. Not necessarily in the most effective way, but it still makes Northeastern more desirable.

  3. Pingback: Weekly Poll #2: Now that we have the new Northeastern Visitor Center, what is the coolest thing on campus? | NU Student Life·

  4. And I thought the array of flatscreens in IV showing absolutely nothing (besides what Moscow looks like at midnight) was an opulent waste of our money. Now we have this! So much for the students who voted for a tuition freeze, looks like we’ll have a tuition rocketship now!

    • Seriously. There’s like 15 of them, always on, showing a still image. Just buy a friggin painting.

  5. As an otherwise cranky NU graduate, I think this is actually pretty cool. Necessary? Definitely not. The admissions area at Behrakis was good enough for me. But I do know that they’re improving the ailing student center and have done incredible work updating Blackman and Afterhours so good job Northeastern. Now just build some better music labs and maybe I’ll consider donating some money in a million years when I can afford to do that.

  6. While I think that the new visitors center is impressive, I just think that this is unnecessary. The visitors center is probably created just to leave a very strong impression to those who are visiting Northeastern (those who are still considering where to apply for colleges). Once they get into NEU though, I’m pretty sure they will be disappointed because the rest of the university doesn’t live up to what the visitors center has to offer…

    Oh Northeastern… I already dropped out because I can’t afford you… and now you’re using the money for this?

    • Leaving a prospective student with a good impression is perhaps one of the most important factors in recruiting top quality students. As a parent with two students at NU, I think the new visitor center was a great investment. We eliminated several colleges/universities after having an underwhelming visit. It is important for NU to make a strong first impression to prospective students…thus resulting in increasing the caliber of incoming students.

  7. If I’m not mistaken, a large portion of the budget for Northeastern’s Visitor Center & Admissions Office comes from the application fees prospective students pay when they apply to attend NU. So assuming it costs $70 per application and 98% of the 45,000 students applying annually pay the fee, NU generates roughly $3 million annually for the admissions department. As long as NU remains the most visited and most applied to university in Massachusetts, this center should pay for itself in a few years.

  8. The scalable display technology stuff is awesome. Love touch screen walls!!
    Its a Northeastern, MIT company! You can do a coop there.

  9. I think that is Northeastern was going to build a Visitor’s Center (and we needed a new one – the one in Behrakis was just too small), this is the way to go. Flashy and expensive? Maybe. But why do a sub-par renovation?

    Additionally, renovations are taking place all over campus. ALONGSIDE the new Visitor’s Center is a remodeled Smith Hall and a new Curry. Last year Stetson West got a facelift. Hurtig Hall was recently updated. The list goes on – and everywhere can’t be fixed at once. If you’re complaining that updates elsewhere should have taken precedence, you clearly haven’t looked around campus. I think that with the new student center and visitor’s center are a great way to showcase not only where Northeastern has come from – but where we’re going.

    Kudos Northeastern on the awesome command center – I mean, Visitor’s Center.

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