Last year I wrote an article expressing negative thoughts concerning the construction of Loker Commons. I said that it would be a waste of money and time because somehow Harvard would find a way to mess it up. Close to a year later, I have decided to once again express my thoughts: I think Harvard has messed it all up.
The idea to have a student activity center was a good one. Students definitely need a university-type lounge, where they can grab some quick food between classes and even hang out with friends. To some extent, Loker has met these expectations, but it has done very little to bring together the University community in a productive and fun way. I believe I have some nifty suggestions as to how this goal of unity can be achieved.
First, let's take a good look at what was desired of Loker Commons, and compare it to what we actually have. It was supposed to be a student activity center. It could be considered such if one considers the huge screen in the back of Loker as I do: an annoying kind of Magic Eye screen, where one becomes dizzy and blind in the attempt to decipher whatever visual image is supposed to be appearing. That's an activity, I guess.
It was supposed to be a place where students could grab a good and quick bite to eat in between classes or late night. It could be considered such if one considers the oily, cold and something less than delicious pizza, which requires a drainage system to eat, good food. Yeah, that works.
It was supposed to be a hangout of sorts. Once again, it could be considered such if one considers hanging out as simply studying or eating the gross pizza. However, the point is that Loker Commons was supposed to be a whole lot of things and one could feasibly argue that it has met those expectations, if one is very creative and has an excellent imagination. But Loker Commons still is not an attraction to more than half of this campus. It isn't making the money that it needs to, and it has let many students down.
I was discussing with some of my fellow Kirkland House residents how Loker Commons could fit those expectations and I think that some wonderful suggestions were brought up: For an activity center kind of feel to it, someone suggested a normal big screen television with decent tracking. If comfort is desired in addition, let's get some nice comfy couches to replace the wooden cafeteria chairs in that area.
Then let's get some real fast food in Loker. I'm talking McDonalds, Taco Bell, pizza Hut--the kind of food we all grew up with and we like to pig out on. Because if you are already going to poison yourself with that foul oil and grease that comes with the pizza, you might as well do it and enjoy it right.
All we need is to make it more attractive. Right now, Loker is no different than Widener Library. Students are constantly studying in Loker (granted this could also be a definition of "hanging out," not mine, though). Although I understand that at Harvard it seems that every place is a potentially perfect study hall at some time or another, I really don't think we need another library. Instead, there should be music or bands playing at Loker. I'm not quite sure that we are at the point of converting the mini Widener into "Club Loker" just yet, but that's more on track.
The space is definitely at our disposal. Loker Commons could be made into a much more attractive environment that would not only increase revenue for the school, but also give the students a fun student center--not a foreign concept at most schools.
Nancy Raine Reyes' column appears on alternate Saturdays.
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U. C. Members Worry About CommonsThe position paper of Undergraduate Council President Joshua D. Liston '95 speaks volumes about students' dissatisfaction with Harvard social life.
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