The administration has recently pushed to examine how best to use empty and underutilized spaces on campus. The Log Steering Committee is a positive step toward evaluating potential uses for the Log. Although renovations to the Log are still tentative, we at the Record are pleased that the administration is making an effort to reopen this space and is drawing on student input. Ideally, the Log will incorporate student desires for a social space on Spring Street while also serving as a space that community members also feel comfortable using. The Log could unite students and the greater Williamstown community, thereby improving town-gown relations.
The Log Steering Committee should continue to seek student input. Students have a unique familiarity with the desires of the College community, as only students can fully understand how they use study and meeting spaces. We believe that the Log Steering Committee can extend student influence by allowing students to run the Log entirely.
We would like to see the Log become a predominantly student-managed space, with students making most of the decisions regarding programming and services, following a model similar to the successful student management of Goodrich Coffee Bar. Allowing students to manage the space not only gives interested students valuable experience in business management but also reduces the demands placed on the administration for staffing and maintaining the Log. Additionally, promoting student investment in the space is likely to give students a greater sense of responsibility for taking care of the space, maintaining its cleanliness and respecting it during events. As evidenced by the Goodrich Coffee Bar model, students not only find student-run spaces attractive, but they also are more likely to patronize and support organizations to which their friends dedicate themselves.
If the Log were placed under student management, students would be able to decide how the space should be used throughout the day and night. The Log could ideally function as a space for students to study or meet with professors during the day, and student employees at the Log could offer pub fare to serve as a dining option. As part of this management, it is important that food served at the Log carve a niche for itself, so the Log’s operation hours and offerings could complement Lee Snack Bar and ’82 Grill, which are other daytime food options for students. The new Log’s menu, therefore, should be open to student’s suggestions but also be mindful of resource limitations.
We at the Record also support the idea of opening the Log as a bar on weekend nights. The Log could provide a valuable alternative to the current student bar scene, which primarily centers on the Red Herring and the Purple Pub. The space could offer a more laidback atmosphere, perhaps appealing to a new crowd on campus who might not frequent the current bar scene. Specifically, the Log should be open to people of any age. This will lend to creating a more cohesive social scene on campus and will also contribute to an equitable use of the space.
However, we recognize that student management of the Log could complicate allowing underage students to use the space, especially in terms of preventing underage drinking. If student bartenders are trained appropriately and if some measure of Campus Safety and Security is present, we believe this concern can be avoided. Student bartenders might also be a benefit in this regard, as they are likely to know the age of their classmates and could distribute drinks appropriately. We also believe these positions would be highly attractive to students who want to contribute to this exciting new venture.
Additionally, the Log could be used to host performances during the week, with the student management team helping to schedule student groups and recruit outside talent that might be interested in using the space. We recognize that there are already existing, planned events at the Log and that such events require planning and coordination, but if the College utilizes a student management team, these hurdles can easily be overcome.
While we at the Record recognize that the Log Steering Committee’s ideas will take serious dedication to implement effectively, we think the effort to reopen a space with such potential will ultimately justify the necessary administrative and student support.