By Jacob Griffith-Rosenberger
In the Oct. 30 Collegian article “Campus Lacks 24-Hour Study Spaces,” Regan Hewitt ’18 ably covered the issue of a dearth of all-night study spaces on this campus. As someone who has been plagued by this conundrum, and knowing that I am far from the only one, I would like here to express my thoughts on the lack of such spaces on this campus.
Library hours and the renovation of residence halls do not have much at all to do with 24-hour study spaces. On a small campus whose library depends on student workers to stay open, especially late at night, it is, as noted in Hewitt’s article, unrealistic to expand the library’s hours. In terms of residence halls, all residential spaces on campus have areas where study outside of one’s room is possible, with the exception of Farr Hall. But residence halls are residential spaces, not necessarily study spaces. It is important to ensure the existence of 24-hour study spaces outside residence halls for just the reason that students in Hewitt’s article express: a separation of study from sleep and socialization.
As it currently stands, there is one non-residential 24-hour study space on campus. Peirce Hall is open all night, including the Roth Computer Classroom in the basement, according to the LBIS website. There is only one other public, non-academic, non-administrative building on campus that could potentially be a 24-hour study space: Gund Commons. I restrict 24-hour non-residential study spaces to these criteria because I recognize the desire, from the sake of safety and security, to restrict the number of buildings open late at night. However, the argument could easily be made that, since K-Card scanners have been added to the large academic buildings, they could justifiably be kept open 24 hours as long as everyone in the building is swiped in.
My freshman year, Gund Commons was a 24-hour study space that students regularly used, especially during midterms and finals, to study beyond the library’s closing time. Due to several incidents of vandalism last year, it was decided that Gund Commons would not be open 24 hours on certain nights, but that students would be given access for study purposes if they contacted Campus Safety. This system seemed to work well enough because to my knowledge, incidents of vandalism were reduced or eliminated. Cited in Hewitt’s article, [Chief Business Officer] Mark Kohlman used these incidents to explain why Gund Commons gets locked at midnight this school year.
However, the potential for continued instances of vandalism, which to my knowledge all occurred or began outside Gund Commons and not inside, is outweighed by the necessity of having a 24-hour study space with a computer lab on north campus. Considering that the vast majority of north campus is residential, it is nonsensical that no dedicated non-residential 24-hour study space is available there. Especially since K-Card scanners have been added to at least one door of Gund Commons, it seems perfectly reasonable that it once again be kept open 24 hours. We have the building; all we need to do is expand the hours.
There are of course many other arguments to keeping Gund Commons open, including ensuring a warm respite while walking North in the cold months, a definite safety issue. However I think that the issue of study space is, at present, more imperative. It is important to remember in all discussions of allocation of study space on this campus that we do have enough, but we must use it wisely.
Jacob Griffith-Rosenberger ’16 is an anthropology major from Philadelphia, Penn. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.