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Love for Lafun

Sara Felsenstein | Sunday, November 6, 2011

It may not be the exact crossroads of campus, but it’s just about the crossroads of everything else. There is no other building on campus more chameleonic, more versatile, more multifaceted than the LaFortune Student Center, affectionately known as “LaFun.”

LaFun is a safe haven from the library when the yellow walls of Club Hes begin to tint your skin, when your legs cramp up from sitting cross-legged on hard chairs for five hours and your stomach absolutely refuses another substitution of Chex-Mix and Diet Coke for a meal.

LaFun is a refuge for tired off-campus seniors, who more than anything want to curl up in bed after a 9:30 a.m. class, but instead must settle for a basement couch.

And in the winter, when the temperature drops to the point where a beer jacket just won’t suffice, LaFun is a three-minute bubble of warmth for girls trekking in short skirts and open-toed heels all the way from Mod Quad to Duncan.

LaFun is a safe haven on Football Fridays, but not for students. I love kids, I really do, but I just can’t analyze extended metaphors in Shakespeare while a five-year-old screams that pickles are the grossest and he can’t eat his Subway sandwich anymore, and NO he doesn’t want anything else, or Dad to buy another sandwich. He just wanted THAT sandwich to NOT have pickles.

Football Fridays are a day to steer clear.

Sunday LaFundays: catch up on work, catch up on gossip. Snag a prime spot in the Burger King section to overhear who was wasted, what went on at the dorm party and the details of Joe and Mary’s hookup, which definitely shouldn’t have happened because Mary’s roommate took Joe to an SYR freshman year.

When the post-brunch gossip dies down, fear not. Grab those unopened textbooks and join the mile-long Starbucks line to re-caffeinate for an evening of procrastination, dinner, video games, Facebook stalking and dorm mass.

LaFun has become so much a central part of my life on campus that while on a run at home last summer, I actually cut through my town’s Starbucks, thinking for a moment I was cutting through LaFun.

Reaching into my pocket for my student ID, to find a Bank of America card there instead, and then looking up and seeing soccer moms sipping lattes instead of sweatpants-clad peers downing Venti iced coffees, my heart dropped.

I was approximately 700 miles away from where I wanted to be. Right then, I realized I had just two semesters remaining with the building that’s been a refuge from schoolwork, drama, stress and the cold. Just two semesters — now one and a half — left at Notre Dame.

Maybe when I’m off working in some city, I’ll procrastinate real world responsibilities, people-watching from a Starbucks window. But it just won’t live up to sipping on Huddle coffee and slyly peering over a Subway booth, hoping a friend will walk by and save me from the job applications I have yet to start.