Ryan Carey Mahoney: Finding inspiration in campus corners

“When in doubt…listen to Beyoncé!”

These words, outlined in thick, black marker, are proudly emblazoned on a beige study cubicle in Gelman Library as if Beyoncé wrote them herself. I gladly oblige.

The wooden divider in front of me is an unconventionally honest open forum. It is almost as if students feel it is their obligation to leave their marks for others to see, whether it be a smiley face with bloody fangs or a philosophical message about love, happiness and equality.

Students like having their voices heard because it is the only thing they have direct control over, but these voices need to be visible beyond the confines of scribbles on a desk. There needs to be a place where students can openly express individual opinions – foolish, insightful or otherwise – on campus.

The University already uses student evaluations to assess classes and even holds public forums to speak up about issues that the University wants student input for, but where is the forum for all the musings that fill our days?

Every spring, Chalk-In Day kicks off the return to warm weather by blocking off 22nd and H streets to give the cubicle artists – and everyone else on campus – a chance to express themselves outside the classroom.

But why can’t this happen every day?

Students need an outlet. If the library is being renovated, I’m sure the University doesn’t want that outlet to be the new desks. But why not include a few areas of the library where students can express themselves before going back to the books?

Drawing boards, dry erase markers and some creativity will make sure the drab library is more inviting and provide a greater center for self expression that GW is lacking.

This could provide students with an open forum to post topics, draw pictures or offer inspirational quotes that show just how important an individual’s voice may be.

Students frequent the library, so let’s give it a student voice.

“Sleep is for the dead” is too enduring a gem – particularly now, when the library is bursting with overtired, finals-frenzied students – to let it remain in a cubicle.

I would be lying if I said the cubicle quotes do not keep me sane and entertained during late-night library stints.

So students, leave your mark, even if it’s just a burst of finals-induced inspiration.

Ryan Carey Mahoney, a sophomore majoring in journalism, is a Hatchet columnist.

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