News Signs in Javits Lecture Center

I was walking out of a peculiar journalism lecture last Friday afternoon (during which what I assumed to be a pledging frat boy interrupted class with an obscene exclamation and ran out followed by a friend with a video camera) when I noticed something perhaps equally strange inside Javits.

A sign. Finally, we students will be able to leave our lectures without having to scuttle around like mice in a maze in a disoriented, post-lecture daze frantically trying to relocate the door through which we entered the building.

My friend’s response: “How dumb can people be that they need a sign?”

My verbal answer: “I know, right?”

My mental answer: “Well, sometimes me.”

Alright, I understand that the building’s weird, octagonal shape doesn’t really make the trip to the front door (the actual front door, not just any one of the eight different entrances) any easier for us.

I think that this observer from sums it up pretty nicely in his rant-slash-memoir about his time on campus.

“The lecture center itself was a very odd building in any case,” he wrote. “A big lump of windowless modernistic concrete, often compared to a bomb shelter. Some people seemed very proud of the way it completely avoided the use of right angles in it’s structure. Going up the staircases was an interesting vertigo inducing experience: your inner ear tells you you’re standing straight up, but the slope of the walls tell you you’re leaning over fifteen degrees.”

The shape itself is problematic. There are so many branches and hallways to this building that trying to exit successfully is a little like navigating a dungeon in a video game.

I can’t be the only one having bad experiences with this.

I mean, how many times have you walked out of the ‘wrong’ exit only to find yourself facing the Computer Science building?

This can be particularly traumatic if, when you discover that you’re going to have to take that beloved walk of shame around the entire circumference of the building to make it back to the academic mall, you meet up with your classmates halfway who actually exited through the correct set of doors.

A sign, I think, would certainly be useful, particularly to freshman newbies and visiting speakers who would like to avoid such a form of embarrassment.

But…a sign? How much money did the University spend on this?

I suppose I should point out that it’s not only one sign, but a series of them that hang above each hallway.

Yes, they certainly may be useful to some people, but a sign is a tangible thing that does cost a certain amount of money. And, given that SUNY campuses are barely recovering from last year’s budget cuts, I don’t think that this adds enough to the campus as a whole to warrant more spending.

I mean, what’s the worst that can happen if someone walks out the wrong exit of a building?

That person walks around.

Case closed.

I’m interested in what you guys think about this. Are these navigational signs helpful, or do you think that the money would have been better spent on something else?

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