By: Ali Hinman, Columnist
Towson has become my home away from home. Going to school out of state was something that I was determined to do, but I never really considered the impact it would have on my life. Luckily, it was a positive one. That is, until my home away from my home away from home became Van Bokkelen, a building with a name that is just as frustrating to spell as it is to be in.
From the outside, VB has an archaic aesthetic. It matches with Stephens, the building that sits royally on the front of campus as a symbol of established values and education. Stephens Hall has large archways and hallways that could accommodate for the amount of students that attended Towson when that was one of the only building present. It has stood the test of time and has seen many trials and tribulations. This makes me think that the architect who designed VB was so blinded by the beauty of Stephens that he/she completely forgot to pay attention to what he/she was doing.
You open the doors to a ledge that is a little too high with a lip that it a little too far out, which weeds out the newbies from the veteran VB students. You are immediately dumped into a staircase that is one and a half people wide, followed by a hallway that is about two and a half people wide. A hall that is already congested by entire classes of people waiting for their professors to unlock the door to the classroom. Every step you take echoes through the low ceilings and feels as if the next step could result in you crashing through the floor. When you finally make it to your classroom, you better hope you are one of the first people there. These rooms are built for 15-20 people, while class sizes are well over that amount. You will be shoving your way through rows of desks as they squeeze your thighs like vice grips. You are stuck there for the rest of the class period because not only is it impossible to get out of the room, as soon as you leave the door locks from the outside. All of them.
If you venture out of the class, or are lucky enough to get a seat toward the front, you will have to endure the least useful bathroom on the entire campus. In a building where one floor designated to majors that are 80-90% women, VB provides us with two stalls. Two. The number that comes after one. All the women in line get crushed by the door when other women try to get in or out. The door swinging in removes even more surface area from the poor ladies who are just trying to take care of their business and then stand outside their class like a puppy who’s been bad until someone lets them back in.
VB is not conducive for learning or even human existence. The more Towson expands, the more crammed this ergonomically unsound VB becomes. I hope for future generations that they will no longer feel like they are going to fall through the floor or get hit with bathroom doors. It’s unlikely, but a girl can dream.