Libraries have always been a place of inspiration, innovation, and imagination. A place that welcomes all disciplines, where people can come together to share ideas. For that reason, Rush Rhees Library is the perfect place to house the Barbara J. Burger iZone that has opened this fall. The 12,000-square-foot space is named after University Trustee Barbara J. Burger ’83, whose lifelong passion for libraries and innovation inspired her to support the construction of iZone.
Thanks to our students, the University of Rochester’s campus is full of creative ideas. iZone was a direct response to students’ request for a collaborative space where they could harness their creativity to explore and develop ideas that may be applied beyond campus in a way that would benefit their communities.
One way iZone supports students is by partnering with different campus resources. The Ain Center for Entrepreneurship, Rochester Center for Community Leadership, the Gwen M. Greene Center for Career Education and
Connections, and the College of Arts, Science, and Engineering are some of the partners that will work in collaboration with iZone to help students tackle their great ideas. In addition, iZone holds multiple programs and workshops throughout the academic year, where students can acquire skills that will help them with their projects. These include design thinking, problem solving, public speaking, and idea pitching, among others.
iZone also connects students with subject matter experts in fields they wish to explore. From business leaders, to community activists, artists, and University of Rochester faculty members, students have a chance to test their ideas with individuals who are excited to share their knowledge and experience.
Finally, iZone's location in the library means that its programs and projects will benefit from library staff's expertise in scholarly resource and research methods. At the heart of every great innovation is the research that backs it up, and the library will remain instrumental in supporting iZone's continuous dedications to innovation.
iZone aims to create a campus-wide culture where student ideas are encouraged and taken seriously by both professional members of the University community and the students themselves.