February 16, 2010

Build it and they will come

Administration should convert Reynolds Club theater to late-night diner

For all the incredible resources available here, the University lacks one of the most basic components of student life: a vibrant student center, a beacon of social interaction that remains open at nearly all hours. The construction of the Logan Arts Center provides a unique opportunity to ameliorate the condition of social life on campus. Since the Logan Arts Center will house rehearsal areas, a black-box theater, a proscenium venue, a 450-seat performance venue, and outdoor performance areas, now is the time to think about converting the theaters on the first and third floor in the Reynolds Club into socializing venues. With the goal of creating a real campus hangout, one of these theaters should be converted into a late-night diner.

Although Hutch and the C-Shop ostensibly serve students’ brunch needs, there is a significant dearth of late-night and early-morning dining and socializing options on campus and in Hyde Park. Allocating space for common forms of enjoyment in the Reynolds Club during these hours would increase contact among students and ultimately build a tighter-knit community. Although there are many different ideas of fun at the U of C, an appealing venue for social interactions would brighten students’ lives whether or not they choose to make their social experiences “uncommon.”

According to vice president of campus life Kim Goff-Crews, some spaces in the Reynolds Club will continue to be used for theater productions, but this summer the administration plans to review the continued need for such arts spaces. She said the administration will ensure students have “ample opportunities for involvement in the decision-making process.”

As the administration considers ways to modify campus geography to improve student life, it should make the creation of a lively student center a priority. The central location, the Reynolds Club, already exists, and some of its facilities will likely soon be ready to open up to other uses. Students have gone without a real student center for too long. A revitalized Reynolds Club might just let you wear your “where fun comes to die” T-shirt with genuine irony.

— The Maroon Editorial Board consists of the Editor-in-Chief, Viewpoints Editors, and three Editorial Board members.