Space should belong to everyone

by Editorial Board / Beacon Staff • January 31, 2013

At issue: Greek life to ask college for more dedicated space

Our take: We need communal space for all—not just one organization


In the height of the excitement about the presidential election, eager students sought a place to watch the debates and monitor the voting results. Yet without a large, dedicated area for socializing, they were forced to cram into the dining hall and Piano Row lobby. And if the student lounge—which fits fewer than 50 students—is our biggest communal space, then clearly, we have a problem.

Several students and groups, including the Greek life commissioner, Zachary Anderson, have shown that this deficiency extends beyond meeting space. Any increased capacity must include an area designed for students to converse and relax between attending classes and trekking home.

Anderson says that part of any additions should be dedicated solely to the campus's fraternities and sororities, but his proposal is premature. Before the school begins designating space for a particular organization, it needs to ensure that there are enough locations for any group to meet and students to hang out.

The hallway of the student center at the lower level of Piano Row is lined with offices for multiple organizations. Most of the offices are small, able to fit less than 10 people. While the Greek council office is among them, they certainly are not the only ones with cramped quarters. 

In September, President M. Lee Pelton announced a master plan including an expansion of the College. We should not be putting plans in motion before we even know how much new space the school will get. It%s too early to say that one space should be designated to one organization. Many organizations that have offices, including the Beacon, must also find various rooms, hallways, and apartments in which to gather, booked on a case-by-case basis. 

The expansion of campus spaces should take more into account than the needs of student organizations. Around half of Emerson's students live off campus, but our scarce space for students leave many commuters to camp in Starbucks or The Thinking Cup to kill time between classes. Our nomadic student body deserves a comfortable place where they can study or unwind without shilling for a latte.

The Greeks deserve an acropolis, but not just for them.