Dear Observer staff,
In a time long since forgotten, the 2010-2011 school year, the students eagerly awaited news of the new student center to be built on campus. The whispers of its wonders spread across campus like a wildfire. At the beginning of the 2011-12 school year, I was among the fortunate few to attend a luncheon with the architecture company slated to build the Tinkham Veale University Center, Perkins & Will. While I lack the physical documentation of the meeting minutes, I have fond memories of a few of the promises they made to students, including a bike path “through” the building (where the second floor would shield a walkway underneath the corner of the building), and having the entire Green Roof accessible to students (they must have realized the safety risk.)
Some of my favorite promises, however, were those revolving around the space available for student groups and the especially amazing ballroom. While I do not remember the figure that was provided in my 2011 meeting, a Daily article from this past October stated that there will be room for 150 student groups—a seemingly impossible number when you consider that there are only six rentable spaces (according to the Tink’s website) and the only main student groups are shoved into a back corner of Tink. I, of course, am referencing the pitiful office spaces of the Undergraduate Student Government, Class Officer Collective and Graduate Student Services, who share a common space with Greek Life.
This beautiful point pairs well with the original guarantees for the ballroom. When I questioned the ballroom before the plans were even finalized, I was told that the university wanted to have a place to gather an entire class, or have somewhere for the Greek community to convene. While this is a lovely thought, it falters when you consider the ballroom caps at 800 for a reception event. If you wanted to have a lecture, you could seat 750 (only slightly better than Strosacker’s 587), and 450 if you decided to host a Bon Appétit catered banquet. You may have noticed that those numbers are significantly lower than the average class size or Greek community gathering.
One last change was promised, and it was the slight movement of the Turning Point statue which once rested in the location of the now building. Currently in storage and remembered by few current students, this statue marked the intersection of the old Western Reserve University campus, the Case Institute of Technology campus, and the planned Mather Quad. It was a valuable piece of history that was supposed to be a focal point of the new building. Perhaps one day we will see its return, but certainly not now.
Last week, I greatly enjoyed your editorial on Bon Appetit’s food restrictions, and the sentiments within it stirred my memory. For your consideration, my friends, many of which are still undergraduates, and I provide this list.
Tink: Beyond the Possible
A List of Things You Cannot Do In the New University Center
1) Eat a meal catered by someone other than Bon Appétit.
2) Get legitimate food at 2 a.m.
3) Walk on the actual roof.
4) Go through the front entrance on a rainy day without being hit by a waterfall.
5) Assemble an entire class or the entire Greek community in one place.
6) Host a full Undergraduate Student Government meeting in the USG office.
7) Post student group fliers without checking with a single specific person.
8) Find a comfortable seat, despite there being close to ten different kinds of chairs.
9) Write on the spirit wall (because they tore it down).
10) Find privacy in the LGBT Center. Or anywhere, for that matter.
11) Book any section of the ballroom for less than $100.
12) Call it a student center.