When I came to visit Washington College almost three years ago in my junior year of high school, the biggest selling point for this school, for me, was the Literary House. Not just a selling point really, a deciding factor. I came to Washington College because of the Literary House.
However, if I were a prospective student visiting the campus today…my decision would not have been the same. Three years ago, the Lit House was an inviting place, full of comfy plush furniture, a kitchen that could be used as long as it was cared for, a cat to help relieve stress, and people who were just as interested in literature as I was.
Now the furniture is hard and uninviting and, in some cases, very cheap-looking. The new rules alienate many people on campus, no matter what the major. While I was here last year for my freshman year, I watched literally everything I loved and looked forward to about the Lit House change and disappear.
Some of the rules I understand are to enforce a sense of order that had been absent before, but now it just seems to have gone too far. The house isn’t comfy and inviting anymore. It is sterile and unwelcoming, it feels like the lobby of an office building. What is the point of going and studying, or trying to be creative and write if the area feels like the people running it don’t want you there?
I’m sure that isn’t the intention of the people making changes, but it is really detrimental to the reputation of the Lit House. Everyone tells me that, before I came to WC, the Lit House was very elitist for the English and art majors on campus. That people never visited because people already in the Lit House would give newcomers the stink eye.
Last year, I never saw that. Other students never made me feel unwelcome in the Literary House. But all these changes to the look and function of the Lit House do make me feel like students are not wanted or welcome, and I really don’t like that.
Yes, the Lit House is supposed to be primarily for study and not socializing, but shutting the house down so early and on weekends doesn’t enforce study time. It just cuts off the house from people who genuinely want to enjoy it. If I were to visit WC today as a creative-minded student, I would not want to go here because of the just generally unpleasant, unwelcoming atmosphere created by recent and unnecessary Lit House changes.
Julia Smith ‘15