Designing the Ideal Grad Lounge

By Josh Sites and Steve Myers


In our inaugural article, Steve Myers and I discuss what we think would be the ideal (and hopefully plausible) graduate student lab and lounge spaces. You’ll find the structure of our articles to be a bit unconventional: we brainstorm the whole thing together, but write sections separately. – Josh This gives us the chance to jump in and comment on each other’s sections.  So this right here is Steve and I’m interjecting.  This style keeps the individual thoughts of our constant discourse which, if you know us, is in all essence constant. – Steve Thanks for reading!

Let’s Actually Do Work in the Lab and Lounge in the Lounge

At present, it’s no secret that not a whole lot of actual work goes on in the grad lab (with the exception of the game design class; +3 constitution to them).  Many of us enter that space with lofty goals of efficiency and achievement.  For me, this only actually happens when the place is empty. I wish I had that discipline. If it’s empty, I just end up doodling on the whiteboard.

With the merger upon us, there may be an opportunity to influence the design of our space in Franklin Hall.  These are our thoughts on how the lounge should be.

The Grad Lounge: It’s Colonel Mustard with the Candlestick

When I think lounge, I think Clue; windows, couches, nooks and crannies.  I think of my Grandmother’s sitting room, a space designed to entertain and communicate. The frame of reference in my mind when envisioning the space was Mother Bears. I love the angular, wooden tables and benches. It’s simple and inviting. It feels apart from the rest of reality, because it’s visually distinct.

The lounge should be a space where we want to go and spend time.  It should be a safe haven for grads to relax and socialize. When I talk to Ted Jamison-Koenig about heavy metal or to Niki Fritz about Wisconsinites, I want to be able to face them and not have to yell across the room over all the diligent people. It really is hard to doodle on the whiteboard with all that commotion. 

Bare minimum, the space needs couches and/or armchairs that face one another.  And I think it would only make sense to have a TV or projector setup that students can plug their laptops into to show projects, or honestly even just veg out a bit.  There should be power outlets everywhere. Let me echo this: EVERYWHERE.

A dinner table, conference table or restaurant booth would also be one of the spaces for a group.  Next to this would be a coffee (tea) station.  With a small sink, we could keep a collection of community mugs for different people to handwash and use quickly without having to exit the lounge. Which would double the indignation when someone doesn’t wash their mug.

These are our thoughts.  What are yours?

For the full version of this post, click here.


May the Best Boat Stay Afloat

By Edo Steinberg

Not the thinking man's game - The Telecommandos.

Not the thinking man’s game – The Telecommandos.

If curling is the most ridiculous sport you’ve ever heard of, word of something called “Intramural Battleship” must have never reached your ears. In this game, the main rule is “sink or be sunk”. Each team has a little canoe, two paddles, two buckets and a shield. They need to splash water into their rivals’ vessels to make them go the way of the Titanic while defending themselves from the same fate.

Yesterday, Dustin Ritchea, Garrett Poortinga, Alexis Ovitt and Steve Myers, who dubbed themselves Team Telecommandos (originally Telecombat), participated in their debut Battleship game. They wore matching shirts with the letter C for Commandos, as well as pirate and Viking regalia.

“Steph and I were AI’ing together and looking for things to do in our free time,” Dustin remembers. “We looked at different clubs on campus. Battleship came up, and I said ‘what is this?’ I got super excited when I figured out what it was.”

He had a hard time finding people to join his team. Steve was the first to jump on board, if you’ll excuse the pun.

Alexis was excited to join as well, at first. When Dustin texted everyone to remember to bring five dollars and a bathing suit, he got a text back from Alexis asking “what the hell did I agree to do?”

“I thought we were going to play the board game Battleship,” says Alexis. “Competitive Battleship, that would be fun. When Dustin said to bring a swimming suit I didn’t understand why.” She doesn’t even really swim.

The electric excitement started even before the game began.

“As soon as we showed up and nobody else had a costume on, I feel like we already won,” Garrett jokes. “After that, we were just following through with the prearranged rules.” I should point out that this was their only victory.

“When a staff member asks to take his picture with you, that’s pretty good,” Steve chimes in.

“That was more of a political move on our part,” Garrett says.

“We’re old and we just don’t care,” says Steve.

“The thing to remember about Battleship is that it isn’t the thinking man’s game,” Dustin laughs, quoting something one of their rivals said in all seriousness between rounds.

The team members don’t think there was anything wrong with their strategy. “The winning team was made up of 80-pound girls,” Alexis analyzes their defeat.

“Sinking was fun, but disappointing,” Alexis says. “Especially when I found out there were T-shirts on the line.”

“We never tipped,” Dustin says proudly. “Our sinks were always graceful.”

“There was a moment, just for a second, where it was like we could survive,” says Garrett. “We’re going down. No, we’re not. Yes, we are!”

Unfortunately, Battleship won’t be played again until next year, so you won’t be able to see the Telecommandos playing live for a while. For now, you could settle for watching the video footage.