Indiana State University Newsroom

ISU interns behind changes in Commons

September 18, 2009

For both Connie Hotovec and Gloria Diaz, creating interior designs has always been a dream. That dream became a reality this summer as the Indiana State University students saw one of their projects take shape in the university's student union building.

Hotovec and Diaz completed internships with Indiana State's facilities management department in order to graduate from the university's interior design program.

The two women worked to find an alternative - one that would show off ISU blue and white -- to the kites that previously decorated the Hulman Memorial Student Union Commons to aid in sound absorption.

"We had a meeting with (President Dan) Bradley, and he expressed his concern about representing the school colors in such an important area on campus as the Commons. Because of this, we thought we should look for ways to introduce our school colors with elements that would be both functional (sound absorbent) and aesthetically pleasing," said Diaz, who completed a program in architecture in Guatemala before coming to ISU to earn a bachelor's degree.

"This is one of the first projects I have had the chance to work on from beginning to end, and it is very exciting to see it coming together," Diaz said.

Before this summer, the Commons was a poor reflection of ISU spirit, and it was loud, Hotovec said.

"We tried to address that. We angled everything toward the center to showcase how the Commons is the center of campus life," Hotovec said. "We didn't want it to be boring. The wave panels keep the contemporary look but are still kind of playful."

Hotovec, who also received her bachelor's degree from Indiana State in 2008, remembers going to the Commons late at night to get snacks after working in the studio for many hours.

"It was nice because you know the space really well, and you know the problems with the space really well," she said of creating a redesign of the space.

They began work on the project in May and could only paint, utilize new acoustical panels and update the columns. The ceiling and food vendors remained the same.

"The acoustical and wave panels, as well as the new decal on the railing at the north end, paint, and the new upholstery on the booths, were just the first phase of the project," Diaz said.

The part of the project that is not completed are the columns, which will be covered with a new material over winter break.

"I just hope that people enjoy the Commons now," Hotovec said.

Contact: Connie Hotovec, Indiana State University, facilities management, at 812-237-3348 or Gloria Diaz, facilities management, at 812-237-3348 or

Writer: Lana Schrock, Indiana State University, media relations assistant, at 812-237-3773 or


Cutline: Two interior design interns worked to create new designs that would absorb sound and show off school pride for the Indiana State's Hulman Memorial Student Union. ISU Photo/Tony Campbell