Student forum focuses on use of Goodrich social spaces

Approximately 25 students sat over pizzas in Goodrich Hall last Tuesday evening to discuss the building’s role on campus, both in general and in the upcoming absence of Baxter Hall. The discussion, which was organized and moderated by Josh Earn ’04 and Elliot Morrison ’04, covered a number of possibilities regarding the spaces available to students during the construction of the new student center. Specifically, the discussion focused on on the temporary placement of the Snack Bar and alternate uses of Goodrich Hall.

To what extent the forum will impact College policy is unclear. The forum was organized solely by Earn and Morrison, and though the two have no mandate from the administration to actually implement policy, they said that they intend to present their findings to the Gargoyle Society, of which they are both members, and to the Committee on Undergraduate Life, of which Morrison is a member. They also said that they eventually intend to share their findings with the administration.

Much of the discussion focused on the viability of moving the Snack Bar to Goodrich while Baxter is closed. However, a number of participants suggested that doing so would remove a popular performance space from the campus, which would add to the existing scarcity of appropriate concert and theater venues.

As a compromise, some suggested that the Snack Bar be moved to Goodrich in a limited capacity. Rather than having a full line of fried and grilled foods available, the Snack Bar could instead feature pre-made sandwiches and other less labor-intensive food.

However, many participants felt it more logical to pick one function for Goodrich and have it perform that function effectively, rather than have it attempt to perform a number of functions poorly. It was also argued that given the infrastructural improvements necessary to move the Snack Bar to Goodrich, the cost would be prohibitively high.

Another main topic of discussion was Goodrich’s role as a general student center. In particular, the assumption that the Snack Bar should not be moved to Goodrich presented two questions. First, if Goodrich isn’t to house the Snack Bar, should it operate as a social lounge, a study space, a performance space or some combination of the three? And if the Snack Bar isn’t to be placed in Goodrich, where might it be placed instead?

Turning to the first question, Earn and Morrison pressed the participants to articulate what it is about Goodrich that makes it an attractive study space. Much of the appeal, it was concluded, was that Goodrich does not close.

Adam Grogg ’04, manager of Goodrich, said that if another space could house studiers, then Goodrich could operate much more effectively as a social lounge or theater. In that vein, he argued that the libraries should remain open so that students needing to work all night would not need to come to Goodrich.

“It is a travesty at an institution like we like to think ours is that the libraries close,” he said. “It’s pathetic.”

Imagining Goodrich as a social lounge, Earn and Morrison asked the participants to describe what might entice them to go there. Several responses were presented.

The first suggestion was that the temperature be raised in the building. Because simply raising the heat can result in it becoming far too hot on the upper level of the building, Grogg instead proposed locking the Great Hall door that faces Route 2 to reduce drafts. This suggestion was met with approval, and the door has been locked as of last Friday.

Other suggestions included procuring more comfortable furniture, adding pool tables and televisions and updating the artwork in the building.

The assumption that Goodrich should function exclusively as a social lounge, however, did not go unquestioned. If the building were made completely into a lounge, it might be unable to house performances and events such as First Fridays. Much discussion was focused on whether or not First Fridays could maintain its identity and its popularity if it were moved to another space. No consensus was reached on the issue.

Hypothesizing that the Snack Bar would not be placed in Goodrich, the forum turned its attention to where it might be placed instead, with students joking about the lack of adequately sized spaces in convenient locations. The first suggestion made was the President’s house. “It’s anachronistic that the President’s House be in such a central location on campus,” Federico Sosa ’04 said. Other students suggestions included the idea that the Snack Bar be moved to the first floor of West College.

More realistically, it was suggested that the Snack Bar be moved to the Log or the building directly across from it on Spring Street. This, however, prompted much discussion about whether the Snack Bar would then be too far removed from the rest of campus for students to visit on a regular basis.