Literary House replaces classroom chairs on enclosed porch

By Grace Hogsten

Elm Staff Writer

The Rose O’Neill Literary House porch serves as the building’s main area for lectures or meetings. Until recently, it was furnished with rows of worn-out folding chairs, which were replaced in mid-February.  

“[The old chairs] were terrible…They were great at the beginning, I’m sure, but the upholstery compacts,” Associate Director of the Literary House Roy Kesey said.

Many students found the chairs extremely uncomfortable, and so did those who participated in the Cherry Tree Young Writers Conference over the summer.

“You could feel the metal holding [the old chairs] together after a little while. During Cherry tree, it was really uncomfortable because we spent almost all day in there,” Cherry Tree Summer Intern sophomore Natalie Martinaitis said.

At Cherry Tree, the students, interns, faculty, and staff spent hours sitting on the Lit House porch listening to lectures and participating in the workshops. After spending so much time sitting in the old chairs, the participants gave helpful feedback that further emphasized the need for replacements. 

“At the end of [the conference], we asked everyone to give feedback about the conference, and for more than half of [the participants,] the only negative thing they had to say was that the chairs were very uncomfortable,” Assistant Director of the Lit House Amber Taliancich said.

This new wave of feedback helped put the plan to get new chairs into action. The Lit House staff had already been considering buying new chairs, and the complaints from the Cherry Tree Young Writers Conference showed them that it was finally time. 

“Those old gray chairs had been there for a while—They were there when I attended Cherry Tree as a student in 2018. Honestly, they were just as uncomfortable back then,” Cherry Tree Summer Intern senior Eylie Sasajima said.

Although the Lit House itself is historic, the folding chairs inside it don’t need to be. 

“Those chairs were about 10 years old. We all deserved an upgrade,” Taliancich said. 

The Lit House staff had been planning to replace the chairs and made their final decision to do so after the conference, but the chairs were not officially replaced until mid-February because the staff had to complete several steps before they could get new chairs. 

“You have to put in a proposal and talk to Buildings and Grounds. There’s approved places we can order from…to keep things cohesive for the school…Then you have to decide how many [to buy]…and get that approved for your budget,” Taliancich said.

Now that the Lit House is furnished with new chairs, students can further enjoy and make use of the space; in addition to traditional courses, the Lit House hosts lots of events throughout the year, including Writers’ Union meetings and talks from visiting authors. 

“We want people to not be distracted by the chairs and only listen to the beautiful of words that people are reading or be able to focus during class,” Taliancich said.

Photo by Sophie Foster

Photo Caption: The new chairs, arranged in an alternating pattern, are colored to match the school’s maroon color scheme. 

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