As midterm season creeps toward its peak, students naturally search for a space away from their residence halls where they can study or write with optimal focus. But at Gelman Library, the cubbies are occupied, outlets are in use and desks are crowded. The library has been this way for a few weeks now, and it will only draw more students as the semester progresses. Because of this, there is an obvious need for more study spaces during the midterms and finals period, and right now GW is unable to support that need. Extended hours in student study zones – which are yet to be enacted this semester – provide more space for students in the Marvin Center, the Fishbowl, Duques Hall and the Career Center, but these zones provide a temporary solution to a lasting issue on campus: Gelman has reached its carrying capacity.
These study zones are a helpful companion to Gelman during midterms and finals, but they are not an equal alternative. After all, the Marvin Center study space does not have desks, which makes studying there difficult. These zones are not designated quiet areas, which can cause distraction for students who wish to work in silence. We ask that the school begins to create more usable quiet zones for students looking to study outside their residence halls, and to progressively open up more spaces throughout the semester.
The fact that there is a deficit of study spaces does not only become apparent during exam periods. Students should have a range of study zones from which to choose throughout the semester, especially because midterms begin as early as mid-September and assignments are given out all semester. Students should always be able to expect GW to provide them with an area where they can do their best work. Specific classrooms in individual schools could be made available to students throughout the semester, and during exam periods the study zones will complement those existing study spaces. Ultimately, GW must look into the creation of more permanently designated study spaces or the student body will be deprived of a fundamental element of an academic career.
Opinions editor Lyndsey Wajert did not contribute to this staff editorial on Oct. 11, 2010.
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