Lauren Meyer ’24 is planning to major in anthropology and minor in history. Outside of the Flat Hat, Lauren is a member of Swim Club and is also an avid Swiftie. Email Lauren at email@example.com.
Look, I like the Sadler Expansion. I think it adds more space to a well-trafficked part of campus. There’s dynamic room for group projects, zoom calls and relatively quiet studying between classes. But there’s this one glaring problem that keeps me from loving the new wing. What could be this final straw, you ask? What is that little piece tipping the scales against the expansion’s favor? Well, it’s really not that small. It’s the sun.
Huge glass windows are nice. I like to see the outside world when I’m inside. People watching is a fantastic pastime which the windows lend themselves tremendously to. And architecturally, they’re beautiful. The expansion, with its sparkling glass facade and metal beams, brings the heart of campus out of the 18th century and into the modern era. It’s a great break from the all-brick design. I’m sure the inside looks awesome, too, but unfortunately I can’t usually open my eyes there without squinting. Because boy oh boy do those glorious modern windows let the silly little sun in.
While I appreciate the idea of natural light, something has to be said for the literal hell on
Earth that is sitting directly in the path of waves and waves of searing solar radiation. It’s like for each of the 93 million miles that light travels from the surface of the sun to the Sadler Expansion, it’s been collecting hatred. Once it reaches you, an innocent student looking for a reprieve in the middle of your day, sitting at a table by those picturesque windows in Sadler…well, it’s over. The burning rage of the sun is relentless, especially in peak afternoon hours. You may think you can bear it. You might, for a while. But eventually, you will give up and move.
There’s a reason that, while looking for a seat in the expansion, you’re more likely to find an opening by the window rather than at one of the tables further back, like at the Slice. It’s so uncomfortable to sit in the sun’s path that people would rather sit at what are, in my opinion, worse tables. And if brave students do choose to sit by the window, almost everyone uniformly has their back turned away from the outside. It’s a smart move, but an imperfect one. The sun is still hot on your back and, perhaps more importantly, it glares on your computer screen, making it hard to see. Not only is it irritating, but it kind of defeats the whole purpose of having windows if everyone tries their best to face away from them.
There’s also the added factor that all of that light makes the expansion hot. On really warm, sunny days, the expansion is noticeably warmer than other parts of the building. The added heat is quite uncomfortable, and besides, it can’t be good for the College of William and Mary’s energy bills. There’s also the smell of heat, which isn’t necessarily revolting, but it’s a bit unpleasant compared to a normal aromatic experience inside of a building.
Luckily, there is a relatively easy solution for this problem: add blinds to the expansion. They have them in the meeting rooms, so I know they can do it. I don’t think it would be that hard to add some nice pull-down shades along the main outer hallway of the expansion. That way, students could adjust them as they please, keeping everyone happy and squint-free. They could even be those translucent ones that let you kind of see outside, if someone out there really is worked up about being able to get the full experience of the floor to ceiling windows.
I want to love the Sadler Expansion. I think blinds are the way to get me there. It would be like making a house a home. We built the expansion, tested it out and now we can add things we know would make it better from lived experience. This is my Vision 2022. No more squinting! No more optical UV damage! Please please PLEASE add blinds to the Sadler Expansion.