The graduate students are taking over the Commuter Lounge. This may be an overly dramatic way to put it, but since Feb. 11, the graduate students have gained access to the safe haven of Case Western Reserve University commuter students.
The lounge is nestled in one of the basements of the Thwing Center, across from the Thwing Storage space. The lounge contains comfortable seats, a pool table, a small kitchen, a study room and board games. Commuter students who have long gaps between classes, are waiting for the bus or just want to socialize hang out there.
I wasn’t comfortable with the graduate students at first. I complained about it to a friend who is applying for an Integrated Graduate Studies program about how a place I considered to be exclusive and special was being invaded. My friend then cracked a joke about how I should build a wall to keep out the graduate students, which made me realize how ignorant and selfish I was being.
To begin with, not everyone in the Commuter Lounge is a commuter to begin with. Since I gained access to the lounge last semester, I sometimes bring a friend over to play pool or study together. Police officers occasionally stop by in the evenings to talk and socialize. None of these people have made a mess of the room or interfered with my own ability to use the space. We coexist.
Thinking about the topic further, I realized that what I was really worried about was my perceived lack of resources. Sometimes the Commuter and Off Campus Organization arranges events with food, and if more people have access to these events, it would make sense that there would be less food. However, the graduate students have a separate organization that creates their own events. And if the two organizations do work together on an event, they will probably account for the extra people.
As for the lockers, there are plenty of them in the lounge that are not currently in use. I don’t have one because I forgot to request one at the beginning of the semester, and being worried about not having the option to have a locker when I did not act to get a locker myself is ridiculous. There is nothing in the lounge that reasonable adults cannot learn to share.
The final point that I had to consider was that many graduate students already are commuter students. Other than the Triangle Towers and the Recovery House, there are no options for graduate students to live on campus. Housing for CWRU students is already becoming cramped because of the increasing number of undergraduate students, and graduate students are being affected as well.
Though my immediate reaction to sharing was negative, opening the doors of the Commuter Lounge makes sense. If nothing else, it beats raising tuition even more to pay for a new, separate room.
The Commuter Lounge will be renamed in honor of the new residents, but a new name has not been determined as of press time.
Won Hee Kim is a third-year English major with minors in creative writing and economics. They live off-campus.