Syracuse University's beloved stadium is now home to more than athletics.

In a recent article on the university's STEM News site, school officials dove into the details of the new venture to use the Carrier Dome as a socially-distanced classroom for the spring 2021 semester.

Chancellor Kent Syverud first announced the decision at the November 2020 University Senate meeting, according to Syracuse University STEM News.

"We have a plan and are working hard to refine it for major spaces coming online that we will use for socially distanced academic and student life activities," Syverud said. "We are looking at how we can best allocate and use all our space. That space emphatically includes the stadium, which is now open, and the Schine Student Center."

The first day of classes for the spring semester was Monday, and students filed into the Carrier Dome for a truly unique learning experience, lead by Jeff Rubin, an associate professor of practice in the School of Information Studies, whose lessons will be displayed on the stadium's giant video boards.

"Think of all the students who’ve never been in the stadium, never seen the new video boards,” Rubin told SUSN. "There’s the cool factor of having a college class in the stadium. In my mind it’s worth a shot, and I believe it will better the learning experience for our students. As a faculty member, I feed off the energy of the students, their eyes and facial expressions. I believe students are less distracted in an in-person class and can benefit from each other’s energy."

Frustrations with online classes have risen since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, so Rubin thinks the adaptation to get students learning in-person and in a safe environment is great. According to The Daily Orange, an undergraduate student at Syracuse University filed a class-action lawsuit against the school last year, seeking reimbursement for tuition and fees after Syracuse moved classes online.

"We all wish we weren’t in this situation but we have to be creative," Rubin told SUSN.
"Students signed up to learn in person, and I wanted to figure out a way to do it. There are so many options for what the stadium could be used for in a larger safe environment."

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