The Economista: An Opinion Piece – What Happens Next To The (former) Gate?

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Welcome to The Economista! – a blog for those looking to successfully enjoy their time at Brown while on a budget. Learn new tips each week from  freshman blogger Elliot Weiss as we embark on a journey of fiscal responsibility,  free meals (yes – there is such a thing as a free lunch!), and plenty of inexpensive fun. Cheers!

For those of us living in and around Pembroke Quad (the slightly remote, yet really nice place for many freshman and sophomore dorms), our beloved late night eatery, The Gate, is being moved to a new location right underneath the Andrews dorm. Although this will only turn my one minute walk from my dorm above the V-Dub into a 3-4 minute dash to grab some grub at The Gate, there is a certain feeling of sentimental loss shared by all inhabitants of the greater Pembroke area. I’ve had many great memories in The Gate, from my first half hour wait for an absolutely amazing panini to hanging out with various friends, new and old, at 1am on a Saturday night (or should I say Sunday morning?). Yet as we slowly learn to move forward as a community and cherish The Gate’s new location, there still remains the question of what will now happen to the large room that will soon be the former locus of The Gate. From my (naive) freshman perspective, here are just a few ideas:

A seemingly obvious, yet quite possibly unfeasible, option would be to transform that space into a second, slightly smaller Health Services Center that is much more accessible for students on that side of campus. Although, in any sort of emergency, students can always easily find their way over to Health Services, which is about a 10 minute walk from my dorm (yet a 30 second walk for most of Keeney!), this new Health Services Center could find its use in giving students diagnoses and treatments for far less severe illnesses. Many times when students in Pembroke start to feel a bit sick or wake up with an annoyingly painful sore throat, they defer treatment options to dormmates’ Aspirin and over-the-counter medicine from CVS. In the back of my mind, I always think to myself, “What if we could obtain health services for simple illnesses much easier? How would this shape the image and effectiveness of Health Services in the greater Brown Community? How much of a reduction in sickness, both exasperating and incapacitating, would we see?” In addition, Brown could supplement the health services provided with social, academic, and psychological support, which is actually a great lead in to my next idea.

In the spirit of community engagement and academic cooperation, the large indoor room under Alumni Hall (where The Gate currently is) could, in theory, become a Comprehensive Peer-to-Peer Tutoring Center. Whenever students need academic help, their first and most convenient option is almost exclusively going to friends on their hall for help. What if we could expand upon those means for academic support via a one-stop-shop of sorts where students of all academic strengths and needs could work together in an organized and self-sustainable manner to provide 24-7 (or at least until 4am) tutoring services for each other. Have a writing concern such as “Can I end a sentence with a preposition?” that you’re struggling with? Just head on down to “The Downspace” (my new name for this hypothetical tutoring center). Need help on 24 out of the 20 problems in your statistics problem set? Someone in The Downspace will surely help you realize that those numbers don’t make much sense (in addition to helping you with the 20 problems that you are struggling with). In summary, The Downspace could (and should) be a revolutionary location for student-centered academic support that goes far beyond the already astonishing academic help and support that exists on Brown’s campus.

Finally, if those ideas seem a bit ambitious (which they surely are!), one last, and much simpler, option would be to destroy the roof that currently separates The Gate from Alumni Hall and convert all of Alumni Hall into an indoor tennis court. As a club tennis player at Brown, I cannot express my annoyance for the long and fairly chilly walk that I need to make the indoor courts twice a week. If I could make just one complaint about my time at Brown so far, it would have to be that there just isn’t a close enough tennis court to my dorm (for those of who who aren’t aware of Brown’s tennis facilities and/or its proximity to Pembroke Quad, all of the courts, indoor and outdoor, are quite close and convenient for me. This last idea was more of a playful thought than a concrete call to action).

So, President Paxson, if you are reading this (which I’m sure you are), please know that I’ve spent the last few nights carefully considering each of these ideas and thinking through the practical benefits and economic costs for each plan (at least for the improved Health Services and Tutoring Center). While The Gate will surely be missed by many, the opportunity to make something creative, useful, and interesting out of the space that it will soon be considered to have formally occupied provides much excitement for next semester. Just as the phoenix prophetically rises from its own ashes, so too shall the space that we will, for the rest of eternity, fondly refer to as The Gate.

If you have any additional questions, comments, concerns, or mildly amusing jokes to tell, please feel free to email me at elliot_weiss@brown.edu! Also, I always appreciate suggestions for future blog posts!

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