Alyssa Alfonso ‘19
Hidden away above Malott Dining Hall, the Scripps Student Union is not the first place students turn when looking for a comfortable place to study. Instead, the always bustling Motley has become the de facto study space on Scripps’ campus.
In fact, when asking Scripps first year, Meghan Joyce, about her opinions on the Student Union, she cautiously replied: “I honestly didn’t know the Student Union existed until a few weeks ago?” Her reaction was not surprising, given the Student Union’s previous dim lighting, disjointed layout, and falling-apart furniture.
Students who do routinely use the Student Union, associate it mainly with memories of cramming for midterms.
Avery Harwood (‘19), “thinks of it as a space to buckle down and get work done.”
This was hopefully not the only intention for the space when it was purchased by Scripps Associated Students (SAS) sometime in 2010.
To combat this prevailing image, Scripps Associated Students is currently working on a renovation to build the Student Union into a more collaborative, comfortable, and cozy space – one where students can see themselves congregating. Student Union Chair, Ariel Leavitt (‘17) sees this renovation as a way to build the Student Union into an welcoming and collaborative community space with a “modern browsing room” feel.
Over winter break, the half pony-walls that divided the main sitting area from the computers in the far corners were removed, broadening the space. A fresh coat of a warm gray paint unifies the room and highlights its pitched ceilings. The soft color pairs nicely with the wide-paneled, charcoal hardwood that replaced the previously dark carpeting and laminate floor. Along with the new flooring, in-floor outlets have cropped up to allow students to stay “in-charge” wherever they choose to sit.
And there are more changes to come. By the end of spring break, there will be a new L-shaped couch, ten new tables, twenty chairs and a conference table. In a partnership with the Motley, some tables and chairs will be moved into the Student Union in exchange for sofas that will find their new home in Claremont’s favorite coffee shop. This renovation has also been motivated, in part, by the Motley’s desire to become a more discussion- based space.
While the Student Union’s website states that it stocks butcher paper, paint, and markers, much of these supplies seemed to be absent upon a visit this past Sunday night. Although this remodeled space would indicate that the Student Union is well on its way to becoming a usable resource for students to enjoy, it is still lacking the materials SAS haspromised its student body.
The amount spent on this renovation remains to be seen. It was made clear the money has come from SAS reserves, but the exact amount was not disclosed. SAS Senate Chair, Irene Yi (‘19) is excited that “student fees are being used in a way that directly impacts the student body, instead of for who knows what.” This investment seems like a great step into transforming the Student Union into a more utilized space, but it may take more than just fresh furniture.