When a GW student sets aside a Thursday night to write a paper, he or she typically has two options: Stay in the room and suffer through a roommate’s Thirsty Thursday celebration – with blaring techno music, precariously placed mixed drinks and belligerent guests – or go to Gelman.
If only the right decision were obvious.
The stark disconnect between what a campus study space should be and what Gelman actually is, is infuriating, and students face this frustration every time they swipe past the library turnstiles. The fact that administrators have yet to actually address this problem demonstrates inexcusable ignorance. Administrators may not have to waste time searching for an open cubicle on the 6th floor, but for students, this is routine.
Actually, that is a great idea. President Knapp, please spend five hours in Gelman next Tuesday and then tell students Gelman doesn’t deserve the University’s investment. We’re positive you’ll be sweat-soaked and tired but you’ll have GW’s checkbook in hand.
There are reasons why students refuse to go to Gelman during midterms or finals. There are reasons why so many students join Facebook groups calling for changes to the building. There are reasons why students refer to it as “Gel-Hell.”
We’ve heard the lines before: “Gelman is a top priority” and “We are working on it.” But it is clearly not the priority administrators say it is. Gelman’s fundraising efforts to make even minor changes are failing, and the University refuses to funnel any of its own budgeted money toward the effort. To administrators who say Gelman doesn’t deserve money to fund the repairs because it won’t repay the money in the long run, we have one thing to say to you – a library is supposed to be the academic focus of a University. As it stands, STAR tour guides don’t even enter Gelman. Seriously, university tour guides breeze past the campus’ main library out of embarrassment.
The library needs help, and GW needs to fix it.
Unlike projects that require University funding but affect a smaller portion of the community, Gelman is a universally utilized building that serves as a studying hub for all students. Freshmen seeking solace from Thurston and seniors filling out job applications all have the option of going to Gelman, and freshmen and seniors alike complain about it.
To reiterate what students have said over and over again, there is not enough study space. Students need to sit in the hallways when they can’t find an open desk. The fluorescent lighting is surgical and uninviting. There aren’t enough outlets. The bathrooms are simply disgusting.
.And to continue, many floors are characterized by poor use of resources. There aren’t enough easily accessible printing centers. Computers on the first floor are overcrowded. The atmosphere, coupled with poor ventilation, is physically and mentally stifling. It is not capable of handling the amount of students who want to study there. This list begs for an immediate resolution, and yet all it has yielded is empty promises.
Administration, we are running out of ways to tell you that Gelman requires vast improvements. University libraries are a vaunted element of the campus experience – a nucleus on campus – and yet ours is not what it should be. Where it could foster dynamic conversation, productive studying and engaging classes, Gelman serves as a begrudging destination for students desperate for quiet – though that is not necessarily guaranteed. Rather than postponing its renovations or calling for external support, it is now time for you to make Gelman a true top priority.
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