Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
A long-running effort to turn a room in Lodge Five in a lounge for Swarthmore’s Jewish community is finally starting to take shape. Josh Sokol ’11, who has helped to spearhead this initiative, explained that “this space has been completely unused for my entire time at Swarthmore. My freshman year, there was a lot of interest among the upperclassmen in the community […] in cleaning it out and starting to use it.”
Ultimately, the space is meant to be a place for Jewish students to meet informally. Sokol said there is not currently such a space, which is “a real obstacle to the formation of a community.”
Thus far, a group of students has worked with Facilities and Workbox to clean out the area and put in lounge furniture. A few years ago, students cleaned out the old bookshelves and papers in the room, but then dorm room furniture was moved in and the room remained inactive.
“Part of the charm of the room is that it has all of this old Jewish stuff from the ’80s, like a poster that says to come study at Ben Gurion University,” said Sokol.
As of now, the room has two nice chairs, two couches, a TV, a series of old posters, and a collection of board games. There has also been an effort to get cable in the room, which Sokol says will happen soon.
There are no plans for any sort of grand opening, though Sokol said that painting a community mural would be a nice way to introduce the space to campus. He added, “I think this is a unique opportunity since there are not a lot of unused spaces at Swarthmore. There’s not much of a precedent for this.”