In favor of Morton Hall: A simple space for quiet study


Although the comfort and accessibility of Swem make it one of the most popular study spaces on campus, academic buildings can be effective locations as well. As one who is easily impacted by the visible stress of others, Swem is not usually my go-to spot when I have to get work done.

Walking into the second floor, at times it’s like I can feel the stress and deadlines pressing down on the many students at work. In addition to the environment, it can be difficult to find somewhere to sit during busy times in the semester.

Even though Swem is a lovely place to get down to work, my favorite place to study is an academic building, particularly Morton Hall.

I am well aware of all of the complaints that exist against Morton, and I do agree with most of them. The stairs are a hassle, the classrooms look old and the building as whole just seems a bit sad. However, when I’m looking for a big and empty space to get my work done, Morton is the perfect location.

As with other academic buildings, Morton is open after classes end for the day. Since I live in the Botetourt Complex, Morton is very convenient to access whenever I need to.

Most of the time, Morton is relatively empty. On some occasions, groups of students or faculty reserve rooms to use for meetings or study groups, but they still do not occupy the majority of the classrooms available.

As one who enjoys studying by herself, being alone in a large classroom is an ideal environment for getting work done.

Usually, I can spread all of my things out without fear of disrupting anyone near me and can close the classroom door to work in silence. Since it is Morton, not many students voluntarily choose to visit the premises if they are not required to for class. This means that my studying is almost always quiet and uninterrupted.

The architecture and furnishings of Morton are nothing to write home about, but when I need somewhere to sit and finish an assignment, the appearance of my environment does not matter as much. 

Granted, a similar experience can be found in other, more attractive academic buildings. Nevertheless, Morton’s lack of popularity makes it much easier to find space and avoid other students during weeks when I have a heavy workload. I would much rather study in a building like Tyler Hall or Tucker Hall, but the popularity of these buildings and their distance from my dorm dissuade me from them.

The architecture and furnishings of Morton are not anything to write home about, but when I need somewhere to sit and finish an assignment, the appearance of my environment does not matter as much.

Albeit flawed, Morton has become the building I visit most on campus, besides my dorm. Its close location and relative availability, combined with the fact that I won’t have to see anyone I know if I don’t want to, are factors that pull me toward the derelict building to study.

Maybe one day Morton will be torn down or renovated, but for now, it remains my optimal study spot, despite its many imperfections.

Email Hallie O’Rourke at


  1. I also studied in Morton, particularly during finals. Most of my undergrad papers were written in Morton to limit distractions readily available on my laptop!


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