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Students share thoughts on new outdoor seating area at Saint Mary’s

| Friday, September 18, 2020

After the positive feedback garnered from Notre Dame’s outdoor sitting area Library Lawn, Saint Mary’s responded by providing a similar spot for students to gather.

Genevieve Coleman | The Observer

Outside Le Mans Hall and Moreau Center for the Arts, the College’s new outdoor seating offers students a recreational gathering space.

In an email sent last week, Saint Mary’s Student Government Association (SGA) announced the availability of a new outdoor area between Le Mans Hall and Moreau Center for the Arts would be available for student use.

The space is complete with decorated tables, patio chairs and lights strung through the surrounding trees.

According to another email, SGA will host its first event “Mugs Under the Moon” at the new site Friday at 7 p.m., offering students warm beverages and reusable mugs.

Belles have been using the area throughout the week and reacted to the new gathering area.

Sophomore Bella Burke praised the new on-campus location.

“I really like what [SGA] has done with the place,” Burke said. “The seating arrangements and lights have definitely added to the quarantine mood.”

Burke said she also enjoys the variety of things she can do in the space.

“I definitely find myself out here a lot more — doing homework, getting stuff done,” Burke said. “It is also nice getting dinner with friends when it’s dark out and the lights are pretty.”

Junior Lauren Bock likes having a new space to study and eat outdoors.

“I like it a lot,” Bock said. “I think it’s a good space for eating while it’s nice outside. I really like studying with the lights. It’s just a very nice place to be able to sit, and I’m glad [SGA was] able to make it happen.”

Sophomore Elnora Mariner said she enjoys the opportunity to explore campus in a safe way during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I think it’s a great way to getting us out of our rooms and onto campus,” Mariner said. “I [prefer this] than being cooped up in your room. … [It’s] kind of restoring normalcy in a way.”

Sophomore Moira Boyle is pleased with the space, citing her improved concentration while studying outside.

“I love [the area],” she said. “I love studying outside. I feel like it’s more relaxing. I can focus better. So, I really like the space [SGA] set up. I really enjoy it out here.”

Boyle said she would also be interested in movie screening events in the space.

“I know Notre Dame does movie nights at the football stadium, so if there was a way to have something out here like with [the Christian Culture Lecture], that would be fun,” she said.

First year Hayley Helt supports the new space as it gives her a quiet place to go on campus.

“I like it a lot,” Helt said. “It’s really pretty with the lights, and it’s just very peaceful. I see that we just got fireplaces, so that’s pretty cool. I’m very excited for that. It’s really relaxing and nice that you can just come out here and sit and do your homework. It’s very quiet and serene. I like it a lot.”

First year Gretchen Brauer said she is excited about the chance to be outdoors during favorable weather.

“It’s better than sitting in your dorm or in a study carrell,” Brauer said. “You get to take in the nice weather and the WiFi actually works out here.”

First year Rachel Tapealava-Boulger likes the peaceful environment the space provides.

“It really aesthetic and quite pleasing and relaxing,” she said. “The lights are my favorite part.”

Tapealava-Boulger said she hopes the area will host more outdoor events.

“It would be nice to use this space to host a book club or somewhere to come and play music at,” she said.

Sophomore Sam Swanson said she is proud of SGA’s execution of the space.

“My room looks right out on it, and it’s super cute, especially at night,” Swanson said. “Whenever I look out, there’s always people there. It’s just a really great idea amidst this pandemic for people to hang out outside with their friends while being distanced.”

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About Genevieve Coleman

Genevieve Coleman is a sophomore at Saint Mary's majoring in English Literature and Secondary Education with minors in Sociology and Theatre Performance. When she is not serving as an Associate News Editor, she enjoys petting dogs and watching television with subtitles.

Contact Genevieve