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Voices from Stokes Hall

For The Heights

Published: Monday, January 28, 2013

Updated: Monday, January 28, 2013 00:01

Then suddenly, Stokes Hall appeared, risen from the ashes of the Dust Bowl. The “Save the Dust Bowl” shirts have long been tucked away in closets, The Rat ceases to shake from the drilling of nearby construction workers, and the golden doors to Stokes invitingly swing open for students to enter. It houses some of Boston College’s most loved humanities professors, smells ‘new,’ and, as if to counter-act the “BC-Look-Away,” contains friendly, talkative elevators to transport its inhabitants between floors. Stokes Hall is finished, so what are the students saying?

For one, most are stopping to ask for directions. Any upperclassman entering the new edifice reverts back to the first week of freshman year. One does not travel the halls of Stokes for too long before he or she is met by the confused look of a fellow student. “Am I in North or South?” “Is there a West?” “Why is there so much glass?” “Am I in a hotel?”  

But seriously, it is one large, atypical building that is difficult to navigate at first. So much so, that it can (and should) really be considered two separate buildings. “I really wasn’t expecting Stokes to be two separate buildings,” said Katie Snow, LSOE ’15. “Also, maybe I just haven’t explored enough, but the two buildings don’t seem to mirror one another, which does confuse me. The carpeted classrooms are nice though.” Others enjoy the architecture and beauty of the new building. “It looks new and fresh and modern while still cohesive with the other buildings on campus,” said Jesse Yabrosky, LSOE ’13. “I also like its ambiance and decor.”  

A common complaint of many students is the questionable location of the restroom facilities. Nicole Townsend, CSOM ’13, said she found herself asking, “Where are the bathrooms?” Upon the discovery of the nearest bathroom, she waited in a long line to finally enter. The long lines and crowds are not strictly limited to the bathroom facilities.      

Perhaps it is only crowded as a result of its grand opening, but none can argue against the confusion and calamity of the highly popular Chocolate Bar. Although equipped with an array of comfortable seats and stocked with delicious treats, the Chocolate Bar appears too small for its popularity. Allie Broas, A&S ’13 commented, “The Chocolate Bar is really small.

Maybe a few more chairs would help, but I haven’t been able to find a seat when I’ve gone there.”
With the decreased amount of space, many students are finding that their old gripes with the lines in Hillside have found a new place in Stokes. Snow commented that, “It’s just as convenient to get my specialty coffee drinks from Hillside. They’re just as good and I never thought I’d say this, but less of a line.” In essence, a coffee-to-go does not exist in Stokes.

Some students miss the old Chocolate Bar, even with the addition of a tasty gelato selection. Brennan Earley, A&S ’13, observed, “I love the new building smell, but I miss the fudge smell in the Chocolate Bar.” Others were quite disappointed about the absence of frappes, a well-loved characteristic of the previous Chocolate Bar. But, for healthy eaters, the new one has a much wider selection of nutritious snacks ranging from fruit cups to the ever-popu lar Odwalla bars. The staff serving from behind the counter is also quite friendly and helpful.

Beyond the food and cafe discussion, some students still express mild disdain towards Stokes due to its high cost and lengthy construction. “Construction monopolized most of my college career,” said Samantha Feeley, CSON ’13. “The loss of our beloved green space for a hauntingly large and beautiful building to brag about, I would’ve preferred a Plex upgrade.”

Despite the building’s breadth, there still exists a considerable amount of green space, perhaps even a larger amount, than what once was the Dust Bowl. Although the current weather does not allot for its usage, students will surely lounge on the new grass with the onset of warmer weather. A few brave students make the direct trek across the grass as they journey from McGuinn to Stokes and back again. On a snowy day, a pathway of footprint forms quite quickly as students rush to class.

Whatever route one takes to Stokes Hall, the buzz throughout the student body about the new building cannot be denied. It still remains a great mystery to students and professors alike. The professors dwelling in Stokes are the most ecstatic about the new facility. With spacious offices, plenty of windows, and bright rooms, Stokes starkly contrasts with Carney. Yet even the professors are still adjusting to its newness.

The only true universal complaint of Stokes among the student population is its patchy wi-fi, a problem that BC surely can fix with some time. Time may be the solution to many of the issues BC students pose about Stokes. As it is only just up and running, surely the crowds will dissipate, the location of the bathrooms will become public knowledge, and by next year the rising freshmen will not realize just how recent of an addition Stokes to be. In the interim, students entering Stokes Hall are stepping into an unknown, but arguably exciting part of an ever-excelling BC.

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