A wide shot of the Lang Plaza and fountain
The Lang Plaza opens on campus this month, complete with a fountain named for the Lang School’s founding dean.

The newly constructed Lang Plaza at the University of Guelph will officially open this week, kicking off a slate of events planned this month for U of G’s business students, faculty and staff.

A ribbon-cutting involving donors and University administrators, including president Dr. Charlotte Yates and Dr. Lysa Porth, dean of the Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics, will take place Wednesday evening.

The event will mark the opening of the new plaza, intended as a gathering place for students, staff and faculty at the entrance to Macdonald Hall. Originally built as a residence, Macdonald Hall was renovated and reopened in 2016 as the new home of the Lang School.

The 3,400-square-metre plaza features seating areas, a fire pit, a bio-infiltration garden and a water fountain named for former dean Dr. Julia Christensen Hughes.

Funding for the year-long construction of the space was part of a $21-million donation to the business school in 2019 from long-time U of G supporters Stu and Kim Lang through their Angel Gabriel Foundation.

Students sit on a curved bench around a large fire table in the new Lang Plaza

Events planned for this month include the following:

Student groups will hold an information day to acquaint students with opportunities for engagement. The event, including a photo booth, food trucks and Lang merchandise, will take place Sept. 17, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

On Sept. 20, 3-6 p.m., Porth will hold a “fireside chat” intended to enable students to meet with the business school dean as well as faculty and staff.

During a professional development day to be held Sept. 23, 1-4 p.m., students will meet with staff from Lang’s Business Career Development Centre and the John F. Wood Centre for Business and Student Enterprise. Students may receive a free headshot for their LinkedIn profiles.

“Our intention with the plaza is to create a welcoming space for all Lang students, faculty and staff,” said Scott Carter, marketing communications manager for the Lang School, adding that the plaza provides an “anchor” at the north end of campus.

About 3,000 commerce students are enrolled at U of G.

A daylong tree-planting planned for Sept. 29 is intended to offset carbon emissions associated with construction of the Lang Plaza. This initiative is available to all U of G students, staff and faculty.

Brandon Raco, sustainability manager in Physical Resources, said about 700 trees will be planted east of the school, between the nearby Lambton Hall residence and Cutten Fields.

“We’re looking to offset emissions generated in the construction of Lang Plaza by planting native trees,” he said. “This project naturalizes an area that is currently grass, which reduces mowing maintenance while enhancing biodiversity.”

For the project, U of G is partnering with Landscape Ontario and the Highway of Heroes Trees for Life fundraising campaign, intended to pay for planting of two million trees across Canada to honour members of the Canadian Armed Forces.