A historically black college just opened a campus at Google headquarters - here's what it's like inside

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Google Howard West James Florio

Howard University, one of the nation's largest historically black colleges, is granting 25 to 30 students the chance to spend their summer as Googlers.

For three months starting this summer, rising juniors and seniors will take classes at the new Howard West campus in Mountain View, California.

Students at Howard West will learn from Google employees and Howard faculty with the goal of establishing themselves in an industry where black engineers are largely absent .

In 2016, just 1% of Google's technical engineering staff identified as black. Meanwhile, 37% identified as Asian and 57% identified as white.

Howard West was designed by Kurani , a design firm specializing in learning spaces. The firm's founder, Danish Kurani, gave Business Insider a virtual tour of the new space.

Here's what it's all about.

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Lastly, there's a common room for socializing. Recently, the students all ordered pizza to watch the NBA finals together, Kurani says.

Lastly, there's a common room for socializing. Recently, the students all ordered pizza to watch the NBA finals together, Kurani says.

His ultimate goal is to help students feel like they belong at the Google campus, and to help them see themselves as potential Google employees someday.

"When you've gone through that experience, you can really picture yourself working there. You can really picture yourself as part of that culture and that ecosystem," Kurani said. "It gives you a certain level of confidence when you are applying for those jobs."

Kurani says the space is also meant to serve as a breakaway location if Howard faculty want to hold "office hours" with a student.

Kurani says the space is also meant to serve as a breakaway location if Howard faculty want to hold "office hours" with a student.

Elsewhere in the building is a mock interview room, which faculty can use to prepare students for the job screenings they'll encounter in the future.

"It even has a skyline of Manhattan looking through a window, so you feel like you're in some executive suite being interviewed," he said.

A partition in the middle of the room provides privacy to people studying on one side and people in the middle of a lesson on the other.

A partition in the middle of the room provides privacy to people studying on one side and people in the middle of a lesson on the other.

Downstairs looks more like a typical Google campus, from its color scheme to the walls covered in whiteboards.

Downstairs looks more like a typical Google campus, from its color scheme to the walls covered in whiteboards.

Nearby is the library, which was modeled off the actual Howard library in Washington D.C., Kurani says.

Nearby is the library, which was modeled off the actual Howard library in Washington D.C., Kurani says.

"The Googleplex has so many employees that it's really easy to feel lost on the campus, isolated potentially," Kurani said. "We wanted to give them a space of their own."

The division between the two levels is meant to reflect that balance.

The upstairs includes a small workout room with Howard's mascot, the Bison, painted across a wall.

The upstairs includes a small workout room with Howard's mascot, the Bison, painted across a wall.

One of the staples is the faux-grassy "quad," complete with tall windows, comfortable seating, and a ping-pong table.

One of the staples is the faux-grassy "quad," complete with tall windows, comfortable seating, and a ping-pong table.

"All of the spaces upstairs are very collegiate," Kurani said.

Already, he's seen Google staff playing against students in games of ping pong. "So there's a lot of bonding and relationship-building that happens," he said.

Kurani says Howard West is meant to blend seamlessly with the existing Google campus in order to produce "collisions" with actual Google employees and foster conversations.

Kurani says Howard West is meant to blend seamlessly with the existing Google campus in order to produce "collisions" with actual Google employees and foster conversations.

For that reason, Howard West sits in one of the landmark buildings at the Googleplex. It occupies two floors.

"We decided to give the students a balance between the professional and the academic," Kurani told Business Insider, "so that they feel that collegiate vibe as well as that professional vibe."

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