all photos Chloe Dodd/Catalyst
“After a great deal of planning, a great deal of confusion and a great deal of work,” read the e-mail sent to the Student Forum Mar. 8from New College Student Alliance (NCSA) President Michael “Mike” Long, the ACE Lounge is finally open to faculty and students. The lounge had a soft opening on Mar. 7 where, between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m., donuts and coffee were given out to anybody who happened to stop by. This was to establish the lounge as an operative part of campus instead of a closed-off, empty room. The modern couches and chairs matched up with the bright-green and beige walls adorned with student artwork make up what the NCSA hopes to be a thriving center for students and faculty to come together and use however they please.
There are already plans in the works to make the lounge a hub of bustling student activity. Monthly poetry slams, art shows and a book sharing club that allows students to read books not offered at the Jane Bancroft Cook Library are already in the works. Second-year and Vice President of Relations and Financial Affairs Alexander Wyllie, who organized the Mar. 7 event, has stated that he would like to regularly provide donuts and coffee to students and faculty every Friday morning.
“I’m looking to do this every week, maybe every Friday, maybe not the same amount [of donuts] but it would be here for students who want to show up early, which could make it a very popular space,” Wyllie said. “The fact that it’s a student-run space is a very positive thing. It kind of feels something like the Four Winds is except not on the same level, but I’m hoping it can be another sort of thing, very similar, with a known set of traditions.”
The lounge is currently open from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., but will soon be open 24 hours a day. Making the lounge fully accessible served as an enduring obstacle for the NCSA.
“Because we wanted us as students to have 24 hour access to the lounge for studying and other purposes, the college had to hire a company to create a new program to enable our swipe cards to work,” Long told the Catalyst via e-mail. “There were a few glitches with the program, which is essentially an automated system that updates student cardholder information to the program that enables access to the doors, but we are hoping everything will be resolved within the next week.”
The Four Winds will also soon have a presence in the lounge in the very near future. In an e-mail sent to the Student Forum, the Four Winds will “offer coffee, baked goods and their infamous ‘Grab N’ Go’ sandwiches during lunch and breakfast hours.” If all goes according to plan, the Four Winds will have another branch by the time students return for spring break. Though the lounge will have an official reception to serve as the “grand opening” of the space, neither the date nor the details have yet been set in stone. Long has promised to send out the details to the Forum once all the details have been finalized.
Professor of philosophy and Humanities Division chair Aron Edidin, who served as the “informal” faculty liaison for the project, believes that the final product will be beneficial for the community.
“It will attract people who are already in the building more than anything else,” Edidin said. “It’ll be good for people in groups of four or three who want to talk. It’s a pleasant place [and] the furniture is comfortable. It would be more appealing for people who want to talk there than just finding an empty room somewhere.”