Today, Usdan is a no-brainer. It’s where you go to eat. It’s where you go to buy shit. It’s where you go to check your mail. It’s where you go to hold WSA Presidential Debates and watch Obama’s inauguration. It’s your ATM, your band practice space, your WSA office, your farmer’s market. If you’re an incoming frosh, it’s pretty much your natural habitat.
The place seemed sleek and corporate. You couldn’t make announcements, like in MoCon. How would anyone find anything out ever? “It’s just like everything else in the world—the values of commerce and circulation reign supreme,” one long-winded commenter bitched. “And the sausage at breakfast was really weird,” observed another. The lines were huge. Like, ridiculously long. And no one knew how to pronounce the name. Yooz-Dan? Ooze-Dan? Uss-Din? Some were quick to suggest “Usdanistan.” Wesleying offered up a campus poll (possibly the first formal Wesleying poll ever). Another student started calling it “Sudan.” Wherever that person is, I hope ze hasn’t stopped calling it that.
In 2007, Usdan’s grand opening was almost certainly the biggest Wes event since the dawn of time. But for the dedicated Usdan historian, those historic first few posts bring with them a harsh reality: in 2007, people fucking hated Usdan. Couldn’t stand it. Couldn’t fathom how that sleek, grey, architectural monstrosity could possibly replace MoCon. It was described as looking like a “bad mall,” like “some big state-school student center,” like “some corporate sponsor’s mundane dream.” (Even the parents were pissed.) Some students even held a boycott.
Today, no one on campus has known anything different. Which is the purest form of love. Sort of.
Below you’ll find Holly and Xue’s original photo album from that historic first visit, when Usdan was a confusing puppy, as well as a collection of actual Usdan first impressions from disgruntled students in 2007. They are all Wesleying comments. If yours is among them, stand up and be counted. Has your opinion of Usdan softened with time (or with the King’s dinner playlists)?
Testimonies from 2007, when pretty much everyone was terrified of Usdan:
- “The food’s pretty good, but the lines are too long. And only about a fourth of the campus is here yet. Eeeek.”
- “Allright, how about the feel of the place in general, apart from the food? I think it’s dreadful. Bland, corporate, anonymous. Feels like bad mall. Did it strike anyone else as a bad sign that the very first thing you see upon entering from Wyllis is a huge BofA ATM? Not a bulletin board or even some Wes signage, but an ATM. And that the items for sale at the university shop are for the visitors across the street at the Admissions building, not actual students? It’s just like everything else in the world–the values of commerce and circulation reign supreme. Isn’t this university supposed to be a place of reflection and contemplation? If so, why is this place so damn loud, so damn ugly, and so devoid of the originality that we supposedly value here at Wes?”
- “What’s the new way of addressing people en masse? At Mocon you just stood above everyone and within a few seconds people would start beinging their glasses. What now?”
- “The food is okay, but the lines are freaking terrible. And the sausage at breakfast was really weird. Supposedly they have a $12,000 sausage machine, but it doesn’t taste like it.”
- “why oh why are the cups so far from the drinks? and why did a piece of grilled chicken, some lettuce, and orange juice cost $11.67?”
- “This is worse than Mocon ever was in terms of times spent in a line. I went for dinner a half hour before closing yesterday (I assume this is considered non-peak hours). I waited over 45 minutes for my food– by the time I got my watery pasta (a function of of the fact this poor chef had to be working so fast he didn’t really have time to be careful), by rice (from another station) was ice cold. There were people at the Mongonlian BBQ who were in line when I entered the room, and were still in line when I left.”
- “In three words: it’s a mess.”
- “There is no hope. When everyone else gets here the building is completely fucked. In addition, it’s insanely easy to take your trays outside, meaning stealing food will be rampant, AND dinner is a meal, what upperclassmen want to pay meals again, where do you get a simple snack, a burrito, a slice of pizza? We can’t ALL go to the sushi bar downstairs…..”
- “It looks pretty, that’s for sure. I’m nervous about all the Mocon and Davenport people combined merging into one place – I feel like the lines are going to be totes ridic.”
- “After a year or so it’ll get broken in and look like home. That’s some nifty furniture. Hopefully they won’t have to chain the furniture to the floor.”
- Overall, though, the whole thing looks like some corporate meeting space, or some big state-school student center.”
- “i don’t like it. it’s creepy… i feel like i’ll be living in some corporate sponsor’s mundane dream… give it back!sy”
Also, Check Out This Totally
Arbitrary Rad Collection of Great Moments in Usdan History:
- August 27, 2007: Holly and Xue‘s First Ever Visit to Wesleying
- August 30, 2007: Eating at Usdan
- September 7, 2007: Formal Dedication
- September 18, 2007: Usdan Boycott
- September 20, 2007: Parents Listserv on Usdan
- January 20, 2009: Hundreds Watch Obama Inauguration in Usdan
- November, 2010: Cardinal Conservatives Holds Affirmative Action Bake Sale
- September, 2011: Usdan Gets A Bunch of New Couches and Carpets and Stuff
- November, 2011: ITS Attempts To Fix Doomed Usdan Kiosks
- April 23, 2012: Wesleying Liveblogs WSA Presidential Debate
- May, 2012: Usdan Display Responds to HOLI Flyer
Finally, Pictures of A Bunch of People Watching Obama’s Inauguration in Usdan, Courtesy of the Wesleyan Connection: