To correct the study space shortage, academic quad should be utilized

Carl Vidrine, Contributing Writer

This is an opinion article and does not necessarily reflect the views of The Tulane Hullabaloo.

The academic quad is a place where students can feel surrounded by over a century of academic tradition and scholarship. Students making the journey from the back of campus to the front pass through an athletic section, a residential and student life section and, finally, an academic one. Passing under the great monstrosity of Percival Stern Hall and entering the academic quad beyond gives one the feeling of entering a new space with a new feeling: here, work gets done. Yet despite being the center of learning on campus, it is the hardest place to find study spaces. With a lack of places to study on campus overall (especially during finals), the space on the academic quad should be utilized.

While this area is a lively and often crowded place during the day, it is an empty one at night, with nobody about but the rare sleep-deprived architecture student wandering home through the darkness. Despite being the perfect place to set your mind to the task of studying, this quad is one of the least accessible places for students to study.

During the daylight hours, when studying outside is a positive experience, the spots that serve as productive places with tables and seats are few and far between. Counting, there are only eight tables, four of which were all the way to Gibson Hall. The new patio behind Gibson is certainly a good first step, however, studying outside at night can be unsafe, making the patio useful primarily during the day. Students tend to study at night, but after nightfall the buildings on the academic quad are completely inaccessible, except to people with special access to labs and the nocturnal architecture program.

This makes little sense, as there are plenty of spaces that could be made available to students at no extra cost. Flower Hall has two floors of well-furnished classrooms that look more like study lounges than most dorm study spaces. Boggs Center for Energy and Biotechnology has plenty of space that could be easily turned into a lounge area with some easy rearrangement of furniture or minor additions such as whiteboards, extra chairs, a table or two etc. Additionally, adding a few tables (the sturdy kind, not the unsteady skeletons at PJ’s under Stern) and bench clusters to a few shaded areas on quad would transform the quad into the perfect afternoon study area.

Students could get out of class, hang out and chat around the shady natural resting areas and work on some homework. At night, they could venture to sanctuaries in Boggs and Flower Hall. An external benefit would be a greater feeling of safety for students traversing the academic quad alone at night.  Tulane suffers from a chronic shortage of study space, especially at peak study times and for group work. It is simply wasteful to leave all this space empty when it is such a natural area for studying to take place.

Carl is a senior at Newcomb-Tulane College. He can be reached at [email protected]