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The Commons Redesign: Out With the Old…?

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The Commons Redesign: Out With the Old…?


By Tessa Elizondo

Southwestern prides itself on its long history, and we hold the title for oldest school in Texas. And for a great number of years, the furniture in the Commons had a long history as well. However with the new year came new furniture, the old furniture in comms was replaced which has made for a fresh, clean look. However, the redesign has been met by mixed reviews from Southwestern Pirates. 

    While it’s reassuring to see that the many years of odd stains and shaky tables are no more: is newer always better? The modern design of the new furniture comes with the loss of comfort. The redesign has successfully given the Commons a brighter feel but it feels less homey. Though the new sense of spaciousness is visually appealing, it has gotten rid of comms’ cozy, conversational environment. Also, sophomore Terri Ray said “As a whole, I feel like there is less seating with the new layout.” The limited number of larger tables and the open concept booths makes it difficult for large groups of students to sit together. In order to have conversations while using the circular booths and corner tables; I’ve witnessed students either having to split up into smaller groups or yelling at each other from across the room.

     Although, there is an upside to every downside. The new barstool style seats near the large windows of the dining hall give students a beautiful view of the campus mall. People pass by going to and from classes, and the sun shines through the campus trees and greenery. When asked about the benefits of the new Commons layout, Southwestern student Terri Ray commented she “love[s] those tall yellow seats closest to the window. On sunny days, I sit there to soak up some extra vitamin D”.

      Another great addition to the interior design of the Commons is the mural being painted on the wall near the doors. As students pass by Comms, they can glimpse through the large glass panels and see the mural still being painted by Thira Schlegel who is a talented Southwestern student. The mural depicts Southwestern students enjoying themselves on the Academic Mall. It draws attention to the vibrancy of campus life, and all the different types of activities students enjoy. 

Thira Schlegel painting, photo by Danielle Ferebee

      These new changes come with a period of adjustment. Student Shalem Schieler thinks that “Overall it looks nice but [there are] some drawbacks that people will have to get used to.” SU Pirates excel at adapting to change, we will get used to the new layout. The comms will remain a positive space, where students will not only dine, but also spend time together. Despite the new more cold and modern feel, I can see the change quickly becoming a great addition to the campus as students continue to make it their own. 

Thira Schlegel painting, photo by Danielle Ferebee

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