South side study lounges store furniture

Students at AU have changed their study habits since Housing and Dining renovated some study lounges in some of the residence halls into storage spaces.

There is an excess of furniture in the residence halls and a small number of places in which to store it, according to Prakash Karnani, assistant director of Operations: One Card and Facilities for Housing and Dining.

"Storage is always a challenge on this campus," Karnani said.

The university has placed excess furniture in what used to be study lounges in Letts and Anderson halls due to the overflow of furniture in these two halls, according to Karnani.

Furniture-filled study lounges in Letts and Anderson have left students with one less space in which to do work, space that some students say they prefer to their rooms.

David Knauer, a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences and a Letts resident, said he is concerned about the lack of available study lounges because he would prefer to study there rather than in his room.

"If I attempt to study in my room, I distract myself or my roommate distracts me," Knauer said.

The Residence Hall Association has also been involved in trying to improve the situation.

"We are conducting an inventory of storage space within the building to provide some sort of solution for Housing and Dining," Letts Hall RHA President Andrew Addison said in an e-mail.

RHA plans to meet this spring to discuss the issue of storage and study space, said Paul Brown, area director for the South side of campus.

"It will likely not be able to please everyone, but creative solutions, given the constraints of space, are always welcome," Brown said.

Brown said he encouraged student feedback in order to come up with these solutions.

Housing and Dining should have a resolution to the issue by January or February. There is a plan for space-use currently being discussed, according to Karnani.

The plan will require space for the "four primary areas of focus in all communities." These areas include social and recreational space, academic space, kitchen space and storage space, Karnani said.

The focus this year was to create storage space. There is still at least one study lounge on each floor, he said.

"We want one room designated as storage on every wing and one room designated for study on every wing," Karnani said.

This would create one study lounge and one storage space on each the north and south sides of every floor in Anderson.

These changes are not unique to the South side residence halls. North side still has a limited amount of space, but the changes in storage there have not overflowed into student space, Karnani said.

The study lounge on Knauer's floor is now mostly clear. However, there are times when there is no room in the lounge, he said.

"Imagine if a whole floor [both the north and south wings of a floor on South side] was sharing one," Knauer said.

Tara Meehan, an Anderson resident and a sophomore in the School of International Service, said she misses the quiet study room that used to be a few feet away from her room.

"I think it's important for students who can't get to the library to have a place to study near their rooms," Meehan said.

There is still plenty of public space students do not use enough. They should not be limited to only what is on their own floor, Karnani said.

However, not all students are affected by not having all the last year's study lounges options. Tessa Raden, an Anderson resident and sophomore in CAS, said she has not noticed the change in lounges.

"I never used them, so I don't really care that they're not there," Raden said.

Students have access to all public rooms on campus, Brown said.

"We have intentionally made decisions to not lock our public rooms," he said.

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