By Ryan Skinner ’19

Herald Staff

Bartlett Theatre, built in 1900 as an integral part of Coxe Hall, may see new life next semester as Hobart Student Trustee Albright Dwarka makes plans to create a student center. Dwarka, who was elected in March on a platform that included a promise to create a new student center in Bartlett Theatre, confirmed that this initiative is underway. It may be complete as soon as next semester, as Dwarka explained, “Robb Flowers and Student Activities are working together to make it happen. We are looking into possible renovations to improve the space and hope to implement them over the summer pending feasibility.”

The details have not been finalized, but he is hoping for new furniture and recreational activities, including potentially a ping pong table. Dwarka believes Bartlett Theatre will be a more optimal social space because, unlike the library, it will be designed to facilitate recreational and social activities in addition to studying. He feels that a new student center could provide a number of benefits, including the promotion of socialization, recreation, and an interconnected campus. Dwarka argues that “Bartlett Theatre is centrally located and a great space that is underutilized. We saw an opportunity and pursued it. I want to help build a stronger HWS community and I believe that it all starts with social relations, and common space is a great way to encourage the building of those relationships.” Furthermore, Dwarka believes that the existence of a robust student center could increase the retention rate of the Colleges while providing a meaningful alternative to existing social scenes on campus that emphasize partying and drinking.

He appears to have substantial support from the administration as Robb Flowers, the Vice President for Campus Life, told the Herald that, “I am fully supportive of making Bartlett Theatre fully accessible for students. When we first opened the Gearan Center for the Performing Arts, President Gearan and I had intentionally asked for funds to make use of the space for student use with furniture. [Funds were provided by\one of the trustees.]\Over the last year, the space may not have been used in the same way, but Interim\President\McGuire and President-elect Jacobsen want to have the space and we are looking forward to having the space open and used as a social space, meeting space, and gathering space for students.”

If it is completed next semester, then this will become the first promise the new Hobart Student Trustee has fulfilled since his election in March. Dwarka also campaigned on keeping the pub open until midnight on weekdays and 2:00 a.m. on weekends, encouraging transparency from the administration, creating more affordable meal plans, and offering all day shuttles. These promises have the potential to reshape campus if implemented, so significant changes could be underway.

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