Common Hang Out

by Tyler Newby | 2/24/94 6:00am

What good is a designated common ground that is used for only specially programmed events? With its vaulted roof, glossy hardwood floors and ornate wooden mantelpiece, it is one of the most elegant rooms on campus. Tragically, most students on campus have no reason to spend any time in the room on an average day.

At the moment, the Collis Common Ground is wasted space. Yes, the room is used for speeches, Collis courses and dances, but these events draw only limited numbers of students into the room at restricted times. A true common ground is a place designed for everyone's use at almost any time. The Green, for instance, is a true common ground. In the colder months it accommodates winter football, snowball fights and general frolicking.

In the warmer months, when it has finally dried out and the stench has subsided, the Green resembles a public beach. People are found doing anything from sunbathing and studying to playing soccer or Frisbee.

The current condition of the Common Ground is less than inviting. Unless people want to sit on the floor or stand, there is no reason to enter the room when it is not being used for a programming event. Granted, the Green does not have tables and chairs, but people expect something different from an indoor common ground. When they want to frolic under a roof, they go to the gym or to a dance. When they want to just hang out, they like to sit.

Administrators hoped the Collis center would provide a neutral "hang-out space" for all students. Ironically, the center's Common Ground is the room least used by students on a regular basis. The simple addition of tables and chairs would let the Common Ground live up to its name.

Such an addition would also allow some breathing room in the Collis Cafe. At last, students would be able to eat in peace without thinking about the hungry person holding a tray and staring over their shoulders, waiting for them to vacate their table.

There is no reason why the Common Ground cannot serve as a dance floor, speaking forum, dining area and "hang-out" space as well. In fact, only by serving all of these functions will the room be a true common ground.

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