Comics, common rooms and camaraderie

091609_features_campuscribsAs a Frosh Quad native, I was initially unenthused about stepping into the confines of Mission Park – a place I had learned to scorn since arriving within the purple bubble – to visit Pratt 2’s common room. Though the hallway leading up to the room was dimly lit, the intricately-made Calvin & Hobbes and Peanuts cartoon door signs made lively additions to an otherwise eerie passageway. The common room itself was flooded with sunlight, as well as a diverse assortment of posters, stuffed animals and vintage fashion attire.

At first glance, Pratt 2’s common room is not exactly overwhelming, but the hodgepodge of miscellaneous items adds a definitive character to the entry watering hole. The room is tastefully decorated with a typical plethora of signs and posters, an entry quote board and a Pratt 2 banner, but it also sports various decorative accents that form a medley of eclectic décor. Pretty much every wall surface is covered with posters and Dilbert signs are dotted throughout, some continuing the entry’s cartoon theme. The black-and-white Ohm tapestry hung across the ceiling resembles a magic carpet floating above, adding another unique touch.

The Pratt 2 banner, the entry’s pride and joy, is the centerpiece of the gathering place. Unlike other entry banners, Pratt 2’s was the result of the summer-long arts and crafts endeavor of Janna Gordon ’11, one of the entry’s JAs. “I had a lot of free time over the summer,” she said. “It took a while, but I definitely think it was all worth it.” The banner depicts a cow waving gleefully in front of Mission, purple mountains in the distance and “Pratt 2” written across the top. Each felt piece was painstakingly cut and glued, no easy feat for Gordon, who claimed to have incured numerous injuries in the process.

Wall décor aside, I found myself attracted to a La-Z-Boy-variety recliner. According to Gordon, the piece was a family heirloom dating back 30 years and is currently a key attraction for visitors. The chair surprisingly is in working condition and is a popular napping spot. “This baby is a favorite in the common room – just look at how it reclines,” Gordon said as she laid back dangerously far. “One of the frosh even passed out in it after First Fridays. It’s just so comfortable.”

Talk quickly turned to a renowned “golden raincoat” that Gordon and her co, Dave Thompson ’11, procured at the Women’s Exchange. Reminiscent of costuming from ’90s hip-hop dance videos (think MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice), the coat is awarded to the deserving few who achieve great feats. “This raincoat has attained legendary status as our entry reward system,” said Meg Steer ’13. “People have won it for winning our entry ‘Wah!’ contest, but I think it’s actually back up for grabs now. It looks great . . . but it smells horrible.”

Other oddities in the common room include a trio of penguins donning multi-colored scarves “recently adopted from a tag sale,” said Hannah Kaemmer ’13. “We named them Belinda, Tyrone and Felipe.” I was even impressed by the vast array of sugary treats in the candy-condom bowl – not only fruit-flavored candies but also toffees and wax bottles galore to satisfy the entry sweet teeth. Gordon even mentioned a stock of chocolate bars, sadly long gone thanks to a Pratt 4 candy thief named Tom.

Perhaps due to the homey atmosphere, or more likely to the kleptomania of the Class of 2013, Pratt 2 has already experienced many robberies. According to Thompson, the entry is letting bygones be bygones. “We’re definitely the nice entry,” he said. “We don’t steal from other [entries], but everyone steals from us. Our entry banner has already been stolen three times, though we have recovered it each time. Hopefully this time it is here to stay.”

As I prepared for my departure from Pratt 2, Gordon still couldn’t help but extol the virtues of her entry common room. She excitedly jumped around animatedly pointing to the fruit-shaped lights and the handmade door signs. Even as I entered the stairwell, I felt Gordon’s voice filtering down the hallway, advertising another unique feature of the Pratt 2 entry common room.

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