Cabin Fever

Should the Academic Building Close on Sundays?

By: Anna Bailey, senior reporter

Photo: Robert Bye on Unsplash

Raise your hand if you’ve had this discussion with your dorm-mates. “Can people please try to keep their stuff out of communal areas?” No matter how well your mother raised you, it gets hard to keep communal areas clean—especially in the winter when everyone walks in and drops their coats, boots, and mittens on the floor. On weekends, when up to eight people are trying to relax and study, dorms often hold the same atmosphere that a minivan does during a family road trip that’s been just a few days too long.

On Sundays, the academic building is closed—at least this has been the case up until last week. This means that practice rooms, the gym, and study spaces are all off-limits to students on what is often their only completely free day of the week.

Many students have places to be on Saturdays; some work, some visit family, and many are on sports teams or want to support fellow students by watching their games. Working out, homework, practicing piano, or simply relaxing—these all get left to Sunday. However, once church is over and students are ready to either be productive or chill, they find themselves cooped up in dorms or Aug hall.

Many students don’t have cars, and in cold weather, walking and using the bus loses its appeal. But being cooped up inside, sometimes with eight people in one communal dorm space, doesn’t help students relax or focus. Especially during the winter months, closing the academic building on Sundays is a recipe for Netflix binges and cabin fever.

If the school was open, it would allow students to spread out and study. Music students could use the practice rooms—when juries are approaching, missing a day of practice can hinder or erase student’s memory work and add stress. Many students use the practice rooms during the week to sing and play piano to vent and de-stress.

If the gym were open, students could get together to play sports, clear their mind, and boost their energy and focus by working out. Art students often have projects to work on. Third year Art and English major Jocelyn Boville commented, “If the school were open, we’d have access to the art rooms. It sucks having a project due on Monday and not being able to get into the school.”

Last semester, the Instagram account @redeemerrecreation announced a Sunday open-gym twice. The first time, November 11th, the school was not actually open. The second time, November 25th, the gym was open. Last week, the account announced that every Sunday, excluding the weekends around Reading Break, there would be open gym from 2-4.

Before this, the school was only open on Sunday afternoons if there was Church in the Box in the evening. Students could use the practice rooms and study spaces; however, the library, weight room, and gym were not open, and most of the lights were off or dimmed.

Should the school be open on Sunday? In first year, I assumed the school was closed because the administration wanted students to rest on Sundays and to give staff and students who work security or in the athletic center a break. However, I realized that if this is the reason, students would rest better if they had access to spaces such as the practice rooms and gym.

In addition, the rest of their week might be more relaxed if they knew they could get work done, work out, or practice on Sundays. Since open-gym will likely be a regular event, these reasons must not be as significant as students assumed in the past.

The rest of the semester will show whether students have constant, easy access to the school on Sundays. Open-gym is a positive step towards giving students productive, restful weekends.