Editorial: Our take on Thwing’s identity crisis


The construction for the Microsoft HoloLens classroom behind Thwing Center, near the entrance to the Tinkham Veale University Center has been going on for months. Not long ago, the situation was reversed; it was TVUC that was under construction, and we voiced concerns about how space was being used within it.

With the flip-flop, we decided to take a look at Thwing, a popular building on the Mather Quad.

We’d like to note that Thwing is home to the University Media Board office, The Observer’s work space.

Space is something Case Western Reserve University has, but is often not used as efficiently as possible. The description of Thwing on the website is tricky to judge, as “a restaurant, snack bar and ballroom.” But it’s also full of classrooms, administrative offices, a FedEx store and meeting spaces. Thwing is suffering from an identity crisis.

The purpose of Thwing remains a slight mystery to students. As we said in a November 2013 editorial, written as the TVUC was being constructed, its opening would affect Thwing. Thwing used to simply be a student recreation center, but that core purpose has now been stolen. Not that TVUC is designed to be a student center, but it is now considered more of a “hub” by students.

Instead of a defined new purpose, however, we only see a cluster of random additions to Thwing, such as a new interactive classroom that’s been repainted twice in under three years or the temporary classroom in which HoloLens will be used, which isn’t even for undergraduate students and a new research laboratory for the Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence.

That classroom’s temporary status is a great example of less than ideal planning, but also the reality that items more important to students should go in Thwing. Thwing should focus on student services to get over its loss as a hub. We had suggested Access Services, Educational Services for Students (ESS), Undergraduate Counseling Services (UCS) and Undergraduate Studies (UGS) before in the aforementioned editorial column. These are essential services for students that could join the Office of University Housing in one location, easy to access for many students.

For example, UCS is currently shuttered in a basement in Sears. ESS and UGS are located amongst a cluster of classrooms. Sears is a building defined by its classrooms, not by its services.

Services, and their use, are how Thwing can recreate its identity. Those suggestions made sense back then, and their timelessness speaks to their appropriateness.

Let’s give Thwing an identity that allows it to continue servicing students.