172 Tremont name ‘The Commons’ remains unofficial

The Commons at 172 Tremont St. still does not have an official name, according to a college official.

“The Commons is a working title that college leaders adopted as a way to describe the purpose of the building—a place for student activities and common space for the community,” Associate Vice President of Communications Sofiya Cabalquinto said in a statement to the Beacon.

In an email to student organizations and leaders in early August, Campus Center Director Joshua Hamlin said the building at 172 Tremont St. would be known as The Commons.  Some students find the name of the building—‘The Commons’—confusing, due to its proximity to Boston Common. Undergraduate Emily MacDonald said she thinks the overlapping name is puzzling for students.

“There is already the [Boston] Common there—I felt like it is not very original,” MacDonald said. “There is probably a lot of better names that can go right.”

MacDonald said she would have preferred a name after an alumnus like Norman Lear, whose statue now resides in the Boylston Place Alley.

A group of the building’s architects from Elkus Manfredi Architects used the name “The Commons” when referencing the building throughout the planning, designing, and building process, according to Vice President and Dean for Campus Life James Hoppe.

Hoppe said the name of the building was briefly discussed when college officials started looking at the plans and design of the building.

“[The Commons] just stuck throughout the conversation,” he said.

The $24 million building, formerly known as the “Skinny Tower”, will serve as the center of the campus between Paramount and the Boylston Street buildings and is expected to open March 11. The property overlooks Boston Common and features gender-neutral bathrooms and a community kitchen.

Freshman Maya Benepe said she wants to see student involvement when naming buildings.

“I think if there is an email with a poll or something like that [for students to vote] would be good,” she said.

Last year, Backstage Cafe was named after students submitted suggestions to the Name-the-Café contest for a chance to win $200 ECCash, according to Emerson College Today.

Hamlin, the campus center director, said sometimes students are not aware of college affairs, like naming a building. Students are encouraged to become involved in planning the building’s internal spaces, Hamlin said.

Some student employees and student leaders also took part in naming casual spaces in The Commons, such as the Hub, the first-floor lounge, and Pods, which are compact style rooms in the building open for students, according to Hamlin.

“We will look to name those areas in a fun way,” he said. “We are going to get more community input on that.”

Hoppe said if students have any ideas they want to suggest to the college, he encourages them to talk to the Student Government Association.

“That is the official connection to the college administration,” Hoppe said. “I think if SGA comes up with a proposal, I am sure it will be discussed and listened to.”

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