Survey reveals campus’ ambivalence towards role of Goodrich Hall

A recent survey of Goodrich found the student body deeply divided over what role it would like to see the space fulfill. Over 400 students responded to the survey, conducted over all campus email, answering questions such as where they live on campus and what hours they use Goodrich most frequently.

Not many clear answers came from the survey. Some students want Goodrich to be primarily a study space, while others think of it as a place to socialize and relax. A number of students just see it as a performance venue. Ryan Mayhew ’01, chair of the Goodrich committee, said, “The ambiguity I think stems from the fact that Goodrich is a multiple function building and different students use it for very different things.”

Eighteen percent of respondents felt there are already plenty of quiet study spaces on campus and that Goodrich does not need to become another one. One student said, “Obviously we are all primarily students, and we all have work to do, but I think that what few social spaces we have need to remain that way.” Other respondents agreed, with one saying, “Goodrich is supposed to be the student center — not a library.”

Another 13 percent argued that Goodrich should remain a quiet place where they can study, pointing out that no 24-hour study spaces are available.

“It would be nice to try to keep an emphasis on studying or quieter activities since it’s the only place to go when the library’s closed or on a Friday/Saturday night,” a respondent said.

Other students saw Goodrich as a good mix of the two. Students wrote in that Goodrich provided a place to study “in an environment that isn’t dead silent and totally cut off like the library.” Another respondent agreed, saying, “I go to Goodrich to study when I want a ‘social study’ area when I don’t mind people chattering in the background.”

Whether students use Goodrich for studying or socializing, the coffee bar is the largest draw to the building, with 33 percent of respondents saying it is the main reason they come.

However, many students complained that the coffee bar hours are not well publicized or convenient. Currently, the coffee bar does not receive a real budget from the College and thus can only be open during hours when sales will offset its personnel costs.

The committee has already spoken with Dean Peter Murphy and Provost Catherine Hill about funds for an expansion of the hours next year.

Students support this move, with one saying, “It does not necessarily need to make money. The college should fund the losses, because it is, after all, a service for students, just like the snack bar.” Other students suggested widening the menu selection to include more pastries, cold drinks and substantial food items, such as sandwiches, soup and yogurt.

The new breakfast points program implemented this year is a “phenomenal success,” according to Mayhew. Students can use their $2.50 to get a Hot Tomatoes bagel, cream cheese and coffee, tea or juice. Despite its popularity, many students are not aware breakfast points can be used there or what hours they are available. Also, long lines in the morning discourage many students who are worried they might be late for class. Students suggested adding another register and additional staff for those busy times.

In contrast to the popularity of breakfast points, midnight basketball, another program at Goodrich, is not being utilized as frequently as the committee had hoped. Only two percent of respondents reported participating in the program. Mayhew said the committee will keep midnight basketball as a pilot program for the next two weeks. After that, it will take a look at how well the last few weeks have gone and if it remains unpopular, will discontinue it shortly after Spring Break.

Another problem area for the committee is the resource room. Originally, it was advertised as a room that student groups could use for meetings, equipped with a free copier and other office supplies. Difficulty in acquiring an access code and the lack of functional equipment prevented many groups from taking advantage of the space. The committee is examining the room in an attempt to ensure that it will be better utilized next fall.

As a first step towards improvement, Mayhew said the committee decided Goodrich needed more publicity, since students were asking for clearer and more publicized schedules.

To start, they sent out the “Goodrich 2000 FYI” to all faculty, staff and students. Also, beginning next week, the weekly calendar of Goodrich events will appear in the DA on Mondays.