Sellinger Lounge is one of Georgetown University’s best efforts at developing a multifaceted space on campus. However, maintenance problems and confusion over the lounge’s primary goals seriously detract from functionality for undergraduate students.
Sellinger, found just outside the university bookstore in the Leavey Center, serves a wide range of people in the Georgetown community. Tour groups pass through during the day, graduate and medical students eat there after going to Chick-Fil-A at night, and undergraduates study through the night.
Each of these functions may benefit Georgetown as an institution but makes Sellinger stray from students’ best interests. The university must address existing facilities concerns, in addition to working with undergraduates to provide the community a space that addresses their preferences and needs.
Outlets across Sellinger are not working, which is frustrating for students who rely on their computers for work. This problem should not be difficult to resolve — Georgetown simply must prioritize functionality for students.
The lounge, Hoya Court and bookstore are also overrun with mice. A space as recently renovated as Sellinger should not be suffering from rodent issues already, but the problem has arisen nonetheless; Georgetown should deal with the intruders before the infestation spirals out of control.
In addition to basic maintenance concerns, updates to the area around Sellinger have brought the lounge further away from its purpose as a student space.
In fall 2017, Georgetown added Chick-Fil-A and salad shop Crop Chop to its offerings in Hoya Court, redesigned the university bookstore’s to bring in more customers, and restructured Sellinger around a more open layout.
The overhaul was likely motivated by a desire to increase campus appeal, in addition to drawing customers to the bookstore. These aims seem to have been fulfilled, but only at the expense of Sellinger’s appeal as a student space — which Georgetown desperately needs.
During the day, Sellinger is plagued by the heavy foot traffic of tourists, students from the Georgetown University Medical Center and other members of the Georgetown community uninterested in cultivating a productive study space.
Around mealtimes, Sellinger becomes, effectively, a spillover area for customers to eat. This influx takes up the lounge’s limited space, restricting students’ ability to study in a comfortable space.
In Sellinger, Georgetown should seize the opportunity to develop a space with undergraduates’ interests in mind.
The Healey Family Student Center, opened in 2014, is a good space for students to both work and socialize. However, limited space provides an unavoidable obstacle in the way of addressing the needs of undergraduates.
The 2016 opening of Pedro Arrupe, S.J. Residence Hall, whose ground floor includes a multipurpose meeting room, a kitchen and many couches for students, was also a positive step toward resolving issues around student space. However, the space only has one table for common use and is made up mostly of couches, leaving students in search of a comfortable study space.
Sellinger is Georgetown’s best chance at further meeting the study and social needs of undergraduate students.
Changes in Sellinger’s layout also resulted in coffee shop Uncommon Grounds moving to the second floor of the bookstore. UG has reduced its operating hours since the move, depriving students of coffee as they study late into the night.
The university has extended the reach of Sellinger and its surroundings, but the space still lacks functionality for students.
In a long-term effort to improve a campus lacking in student-centric spaces, the university must consult students to determine their preferences and needs during renovations and construction. In the short term, Georgetown must address the maintenance problems that currently plague Sellinger.
The Hoya’s editorial board is composed of six students and is chaired by the Opinion Editor. Editorials reflect only the beliefs of a majority of the board and are not representative of The Hoya or any individual member of the board.