Columns / Discourse / April 9, 2009

Waste not, want slightly less

In a column that ran several weeks ago, I discussed the construction of a ball pit in the area where Wallace Lounge currently wallows. I highly doubt that any member of Student Senate, faculty, or other higher-up therein would grant the funds for it, yet I still believe strongly in this cause (well, maybe Senate would chip in a bit of green. As students and potential pit-users, they might empathize). Though I understand my column did little to turn the tides of Seymour basement’s fate, it certainly got the wheels in my head turning. What other areas of campus are dead space? What could they become?

The fact is, we’ve got a long way to go until we’ll be ready to fill the black hole that is Alumni Hall. There are so many pockets of Knox that are fully capable of being functional (i.e., not condemned), but instead sit like an unwanted toy on a dime store shelf. For starters, Post Lobby is a wonderful area carved out for us students. Yet what does it really have within it? At last count, it had two tables, eight chairs, a handful of couches, and, the only real focal point of the room, a larger-than-life TV.

Why not move that utterly misplaced piano by the drinking fountain, out towards the greater space where amateur and concert pianists alike could tickle the ivories without feeling ostracized or imprisoned? Better to have a source of music where there is ample seating to listen. Heck, with a bit of plywood and track lighting, an entire stage could be built against the unused back wall. Voila: we have a jam session!

Ever seen the sizable landings beneath GDH’s façade windows on the third floor? They’re 80 square feet, at least, and currently house no more than dust and paint chips. I’m envisioning a ladder, an armchair, and a simple bookcase filled with donated volumes; these are the only items that need be donated to equip GDH with some impressive reading nooks. It would be something quiet that wouldn’t disrupt classes, and a better, sunnier view of Galesburg would hard to find.

Finally, we have the Roger Taylor Lounge, which many of you have probably never even seen. It is hidden away next to the Neifert basement laundry room, a barren linoleum landscape vast as the Midwestern plains. Surely our most esteemed president deserves more than deteriorating drop-ceiling tile?

For this deadest of spaces, I thought an art gallery would be the best course of action. Though you can argue that CFA already displays art, the Lounge could be a much more grassroots effort to create and show off finished products. Anonymous contributors would simply hang their pieces (paintings, photography, sketches, etc.) next to a wall of butcher paper where people could then leave comments for the artist. It would do a lot to spruce up a room that, at present, only boasts a half-broken Pepsi machine.

Of course, these are just my own ideas, and I’m sure people will agree or disagree with any number of them. The point of all this hypothetical brainstorming is that each of us should have a vision of what they want their Knox to look like, farfetched as it may seem. Ultimately, we pay not only to learn here, but also to live here, and we deserve a stake in what that entails. Me, I want a little more fun. Fun that doesn’t involve pizza, coffee, or Kerasotes Showplace 8. I simply don’t have the funds for any of them, and cheap entertainment that I can access without a car is the ideal.

What is your ideal?

Marnie Shure

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