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Bronstein week disturbs our academic needs

By Andrew Elmers

Section: Opinions

March 20, 2015

With the change in the weather comes students and groups looking to take advantage of it and hang out outside. Even somewhat moderate conditions, such as those over the past week, bring folks to turn their frowns upside down and actually show some signs of life. One of these signs, however, can get to be irritating when different clubs and groups set up tables on the path between Usdan and the library to promote some sort of event going on, blasting loud music and creating traffic along the footpath.

This past Monday featured a table promoting Bronstein Week, a festival put on by Student Events that celebrates nothing in particular. Other times throughout the year, there are tables for Roosevelt Fellows, Louis Louis Week and other events going on, with t-shirts and free food typically being handed out to those who pass by. While it is nice to receive free gifts just for walking past a table, and these tables do liven up the campus aura a bit, their location is not the best for what is taking place.

The path that these tables are placed along is one of the narrowest ones on campus, in terms of space between buildings, and one of the most frequented as hundreds of students make the trek up from lower campus to the Rabb Steps and the humanities quad, and also stopping at the library and Usdan. With the lure of free food and t-shirts, or free shot glasses from Monday’s table, a lot of students do stop at the tables hoping to get their hands on something for free. The ensuing bottlenecking effect leads to students who are rushing to class to have to navigate through the channels of other students milling around. It makes sense that these tables are then placed right in this spot, because a majority of students are likely to pass by this location at some point, but the frustrations it causes can be easily prevented.

Down in the Fellows’ Garden outside of the SCC, there is a great amount of space to set up a lot more tables than what is afforded in the current preferred location. This would allow a much more impressive production to be put on by the group and offer a lot more entertainment than a few tables with donuts and cheap screen-printed t-shirts. And with paths leading in all directions, instead of just the two-way path outside Usdan, students can both find ways around the mass of people standing around a table and find ways to actually get to the table, and therefore, the free swag. The Fellows’ Garden is just as centralized a location as the path between Usdan and the library is, as it is surrounded by the SCC, the Science Center and the Massell and Rosenthal residence quads. The same amount of students pass through this spot of campus—it only appears to not be as busy because it isn’t as tight a space as the path by Usdan is.

Besides the difficulties of traversing these tables and the people who line up there, an even more pressing issue is the noise pollution they cause. Whenever these tables are set up, they’re usually accompanied by a few large speakers connected to someone’s laptop playing the latest top-40 hits and dance remixes to draw attention, at the highest possible volume. Simply walking past it for two seconds creates a literal headache since the speakers are set up so close to the walking path.

The location creates more issues since it is right by the library and you can wind up hearing the music on the first floor of Goldfarb, creating unnecessary distractions for students studying. The library is probably the most sacred space on campus reserved for peace and quiet and the expectation exists for everyone to respect their peers as they try to study. Yet these student activity tables are always allowed to set up shop right outside the library. The Fellows’ Garden once again allows a more open space for the sound waves to escape and is further away from the Science Center than Usdan is from the library, so students studying there will be much less affected than those studying in the library.

Free t-shirts and food are exciting; everyone likes getting something for free. And there are some positive vibes from the upbeat music and fun nature of the tables, but just as many negative vibes are produced to negate it. By moving the permanent location of these booths down the hill to the Fellows’ Garden, a lot less agitation will hit students that pass by. Besides, with more open space to use, perhaps these booths and tables can actually turn into something you want to stop at instead of trying to find a way to walk past them as quickly as possible.

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