The Collegian
Saturday, June 15, 2024

The Dilemma of Space: There are more than four ways to use our buildings

The University of Richmond, pending completion of the Westhampton College Deanery addition, may have the highest amount of "study space" per capita in the country.

Of course, it makes perfect sense; you don't become an Ivy League school with beanbag chairs. Apparently, the plan here is to fill as much space as possible with uncomfortable furniture in the hope that someone will finally do something worthy of recognition.

Of course a very legitimate reason for all of this study space is to make the tour guide's job easier. As they walk perspective students by the library they can say, "this is where I work." The Commons, "this is where we eat and work." Jepson, "this is where I learn." Ryland, "this is where we learn." Gottwald, "this is where we learn and work, this is my dorm room where I sleep and this is D-Hall, where we eat." This is where I'm supposed to exercise. This is where I'm not supposed to go on the weekends. This is where I'm supposed to tell psychiatrists about all of my problems that I swear are completely unrelated to this school. I am very happy with my classes and my professors are easily accessible.

I would like to be able to walk by the brand new Deanery and say, "this is where I chill in big red beanbag chairs. When they were building, they realized that what students needed more than anything was a place to relax. They even bake us fresh cookies in the brand new kitchen in an attempt to take some of the industrial feel out of our campus. Cookies and milk. While I sit in my beanbag eating a cookie dipped in milk, my friends play each other in checkers and we listen to one of the local bands play at the new venue next door. The people that built the Deanery had so much foresight they realized that students relax better on couches that aren't cardboard like the ones on the third floor Gottwald.

This is Boatwright Library, where I swing under the huge oak trees. This is the Jepson Quadrangle, just a pretentious name for "really big kickball field." This is...

I want to drop a bomb on the apartments (not a threat, just a very good idea). They should have been demolished years ago, but no one knows what to do with the space that would be left over. Well, here goes:

1. Open the newly available land to private investment. If I have learned anything it's that private investment is the only way to effectively satisfy a large group of people. Central planning is usually what leaves us with the "eat-work- sleep-get drunk" dilemma.

2. The new buildings will be multipurpose and mixed-use. I don't think anyone even realizes we are here. Three thousand college students and there is nothing in the area oriented toward our needs or desires. Sorry, but Mosaic doesn't count.

3. This new public space would not be uniform. There would be quirks and there would be irregularities. Bars, restaurants, stores, cafes, etc. It will look like a European city where all the streets are for walking and students have to park outside. Where there is no official study space.

4. Finally, and most importantly, our meal plans would work for each of the new restaurants and stores built where the hell-holes used to be. It's not our fault that D-hall costs so much and we shouldn't be required to shoulder the burden.

Of course, none of this will ever happen. Get back to work. Oh, but don't forget to smile when the prospective students walk onto campus. I love this school and I am in for the long haul, but still am not sure if I will remember how to have fun when I get out. I will certainly know how to pull all-nighters and write spiteful prose, but since fun is not a class that I can study for, it seems like most of the time it doesn't fit into my schedule.

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