BEN POVMAN // FEBRUARY 23, 2018
Students returning from Winter Term noticed a big change upon their arrival. In an attempt to show that the administration actually caters to student needs, Wilder Hall underwent some minor renovations to make what is likely the least student-union-y student union in North America just the least bit more palatable.
New couches and the promise of a new TV aside, many were amazed by the more open space. But this all came at a cost. Little did they know that by knocking down those walls, they brought about the demise of a space much known and loved in the Oberlin Community. Indeed, Wilder 110, the room previously adjacent to the lobby, is no more.
Wilder got its start as a men’s dorm when first built in 1911, complete with a bowling alley, dining hall, and a “women’s reception area” (God only knows exactly what the women were receiving, but if it’s what I think it is, it’s been a while since I’ve given any). But over the years it’s evolved into the catch-all space that is home to everything under the sun, in typical Oberlin fashion. I mean, in the building marked “Library” is our Geology department, in the building marked “Chemistry” is our Psychology department, and who the hell even knows what the deal is with Rice (for even more fun, ask a Music History prof whose been around for a while where their office was before the jazz building was built).
Wilder 110 has been a staple of the Oberlin community for as long as anyone can remember, being home to meetings of diverse student groups, and so much failed ‘Sco pregaming by first-years looking to evade S&S.
It seems like 110 has vanished without any remembrance. Nobody has yet to ask where it went, or expressed any sadness about its disappearance. “The lights took 10 minutes to turn on,” says Katie Wilson, ‘19, who works at the front desk of Wilder. Ethan Aronson, ‘18, who also works at the front desk, said “it’s louder now with the open space, but I think it’s good that we have it.”
That being said, there is certainly a hole in the Oberlin community now that it’s gone, and not just because the holes in the ceiling from old wiring haven’t been fixed yet. 110 was really the only room in Wilder people were able to find without getting lost. So many groups are suffering now that they have to tell people exactly how to get to where they are meeting. It’s just not the same.
So, here’s to Wilder 110. Nobody cares that you are gone, but I’m sure that when the key to the room was taken off the rack at the front desk for the last time, it was just a little bittersweet.
Contact contributing writer Ben Povman at firstname.lastname@example.org.