Where to?

Selena Lane | Staff Columnist
(Kelsey Eng | Student Life)

(Kelsey Eng | Student Life)

For the number of times I’ve walked through Mallinckrodt on my way to the library, there are an equal number of locations on campus that I’ve yet to find myself in. Eighteen months into my college education, I find that there are some buildings whose names I’ve never pronounced (Bix-bee?), nevermind wandered into the depths of. As far as I’m concerned, McMillan and McMillen are the same. So why, with classrooms abundant across our dear University, are classes always in the most obscure places on campus?

Oh, sure, I’ve had Psych 101 in Brown 100 and Intro to Western Art in the Steinberg Auditorium, and, hell, I’ve even had an English class in Eads, but most of my classes find themselves meeting in, well, some pretty unexpected places. My seven-person Plays for Actress class was given a luxurious room big enough to comfortably fit 40 in the basement of Seigle last fall. Every Tuesday and Thursday we found ourselves dispersed throughout the classroom, squinting at each other while our professor reached for her telescope to call attendance.

In contrast, the 30 person American Literature class that meets this spring was stuffed into a small math classroom in Cupples I. Imagine, if you will, a down pillow with an inordinate amount of feathers crammed in its case: It just ain’t comfortable.

There was my Renaissance Poetry class in the Earth and Planetary Sciences building—that made sense—and my theater history class in the Psychology building. I’m all for interdisciplinary studies, but I wonder how much Chief English Writers 1 benefitted from being surrounded by pre-law classes. Although, to Wash. U.’s credit, having Women and Gender Studies in the engineering building was probably a conscious choice.

Sure, we’re a big(ish?) school. Classes are full and diverse, and scheduling them must be quite a task. Having spent a cumulative 20 hours on WebSTAC last November, I’m in no position to judge.

If it’s the size of our student body that sends a biology lab subsection into Edison Theater on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, what do the truly large schools do? UCLA must hold their lower level French classes on Catalina. I imagine that Wash. U., in its everlasting and admirable attempt to be productive, yet not take itself too seriously (Amen, Bunny), has a big corkboard map of campus in some well-lit basement onto which class-labeled darts are flung at the start of each semester. It gets the job done, plus we all get a little more familiar with the outskirts of campus—even if it does mean that Great Philosophers is held in Phi Delt.

Selena is a sophomore in Arts & Sciences. She can be reached via e-mail at sslane@wustl.edu.