No matter how extensively you go about this campus, you still won’t know everything about Wesleyan’s many different facilities. Are you ever curious about what is up on the 3rd floor of 41 Wyllys because all you seem to see is a locked door? Or what is in the beautiful glass structure on Washington Terrace that, let’s admit it, is just too far to visit? Well, now I have done the legwork, so you don’t have to.
As an inevitable result of watching 16th-17th century English drama recently, I dare to categorize my findings of Wesleyan’s facilities for different majors into “the commoners,” “the nobilities,” and “the royals.”
*This post will not be a report on administrative details such as what department owns what. It is also not a very reliable guide for stalking any specific major’s students. It is, most importantly, NOT diminishing or elevating any majors just because of the facilities.
The facilities I focus on are lounges. The most common situation is that there is a public space in a department, but it is often used for too many activities to be a place for majors. The music lounge, for instance, located on the first floor of the Music Studios, is a space for meetings, rehearsals, in addition to being a common space for majors and graduate students. The psychology department also has a space in Judd Hall, but it is mostly used for major meetings with faculties and such. The Romance Languages department at 300 High Street has a spacious hall on the first floor, organized in a comfy lounge way, but it is often used for lectures and other events and it’s a little far for majors to use it as a gathering place. The department will clear out the entire hall sometimes for special celebrations from one or more of the romance traditions.
Another common situation is that there may not be a lounge- or room-like space at all in a major. The Film Studies building (the pretty glass one facing Washington Terrace) has random seating spaces scattered on the first floor. But unlike Film Studies, most departments that don’t have a common space are the ones sharing a building/house with other majors, such as Classics Studies. It shares the space in Downey House with English, Medieval Studies, Writing and professor offices. Art History shares 41 Wyllys (and a kitchen) with College of Letters. The social sciences, including Sociology, Economics, Government, History, Middle Eastern Studies, etc., all share the PAC building and therefore have no designated space of their own. German Studies and Russian share Fisk Hall. Not to mention quite a number of majors do not have any department space at all, such as Science in Society, some languages, etc.
These facilities are “nicer” because they are clearly marked lounges, and there might be accessible kitchens, or an additional library that is available.
Russell House is such a place. Philosophy majors can either relax and read on the first floor living room, or quietly study in the second floor library. The Theater department recently acquired an old Dance department office and is thinking about converting it into a major lounge. It can potentially become a space for the majors, but currently it is used as meeting space for faculty (and is locked).
The building of East Asian Studies, located at the far end of Wyllys Avenue on Washington Terrace, is a beautiful structure completed with a Japanese garden. There’s a small room inside of tatami style that forms a warm space for gathering.
English department’s Downey Lounge is spacious and has amazing natural light. The administrative assistant of the department told me that this space is often used for events, and sometimes majors come here as well.
There is also a Math (and Computer Science?) lounge on the 6th floor of Exley, but it was locked when I visited. From what I could gather, it seems like a functional meeting space, not necessarily for majors’ pleasure perhaps, but still a designated department lounge.
These are the “outrageously” good spaces solely for the pleasure of the majors, available 24/7. They are the “best” because they are put into frequent and specialized uses.
The College of Letters library on the third floor of 41 Wyllys definitely takes the top spot. It is newly furnished, brightly lit, comfortably arranged, and elegantly designed, but the most important feature that makes it the “best of lounges” is the fact that its access is restricted. In terms of the books in the library, only COL students can check them out. And after business hours, only COL students have access to the 3rd floor by swiping their WesID. Another interesting fact about the COL lounge is that, as the COL administrative assistant told me, there is always cookies and coffee and tea in the kitchen. Apparently it was decided by COL student committee that as a rule, COL will always provide cookies for the majors.
College of Social Studies’ facilities are the only other ones that can perhaps contend with that in COL. CSS provides its students with a lounge on the 4th floor of PAC, complete with a kitchen and a dining table. In addition to that, CSS has a library and study space that is reserved for only the major. The fridge in CSS is stocked with soda and some food from time to time, paid for by CSS house fees. CSS lounge is open to non-majors as well, but its library is reserved for only the majors, though it does not have strict access restriction.
In addition to these two colleges, the Physics lounge on the 2nd floor of Exley is also a 24/7 facility for the majors. It has a kitchen attached to it, and it is often used as a study space as well as a place to relax. It is significantly more spacious than “the commoners” and “the nobilities.” It also seems to be the only lounge that’s available to majors 24/7 aside from the ones of the Colleges.
Of course, the lounges, kitchens, and libraries are not the only facilities available to majors. Science majors, for example, have lots of labs. Access is not universal, even for majors, but certainly much more available to the majors than to other students. In addition, the Archaeology department, solely on the 3rd floor of Exley these days after Dance department took over the building on Cross Street, has numerous labs. Another floor of labs belongs to the Earth and Environmental Science department that’s on the 4th floor. The entire Hall-At-Water is basically a lab building for Physics, Chemistry, Biology, MB&B. There are also labs in Judd and Psychology majors gain access if they are researching with professors.
Then there are studios. Dance department has two main studios, Schöneberg and Cross Street. Though various student groups also make frequent use of them, they are still Dance department facilities and are prioritized accordingly. The same goes for Theatre rehearsal spaces, located on the first floor of Theater Department; department uses such as theses rehearsals triumph the needs of Second Stage and such. Art Studios have some of their workshop space across from Zilkha Gallery, and one in the middle of the CFA that provides all the tools you need for woodwork. Music department has all the practice rooms in the basement of the building, as I’m sure many are aware of, and a few of them can be reserved by music majors if they are working on theses or projects. The recording studio in Rehearsal Hall is a music facility, but it is only accessible to necessary personnel and students of the Recording class.
And that concludes my findings. But I can’t know better than the actual majors. So if you have things to add, please feel free to do so in the comments!