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ARC Team Acts to Control Noise Problem

Zoë ’15 and Megan ’15 get talkative in the ARC. Photo by Haley ’15

How many times have you heard an ARC librarian shushing students who are being too loud? Well, for the first time ever, I witnessed the exact opposite of that stereotypical “shhh.” I was in the Academic Resource Center trying to do homework after School, but a few faculty members were in a study room having a rather loud get together. Not only were they ironically being the loudest people in the room, but they were eating cake, something that students would surely be punished for. As the adults were laughing, a student who was trying to study across the room walked over and told them to please quiet down.

This incident brings to light the School’s struggle to accommodate the variety of student uses of the ARC. The Resource Center is used as a comfy lounge to finish last night’s episode of Pretty Little Liars, as a hangout spot to chat about Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively’s recent secret wedding, and as a quiet area to cram in another half hour of studying before a big test. But can the ARC serve all purposes?

Director of Academic and Administrative Technology Stuart Posin and the rest of the ARC team are committed to making the ARC a place for both quiet study and louder student collaboration.

However, Posin says, “We have a big problem: the skylight. As beautiful as it is, it amplifies noise.” As a result, in an effort to reduce the room’s noise level, the ARC team has put in place a new privacy speech system that many girls are unaware of. The system’s devices, which are placed throughout the ARC, make sound less clear. So if you are trying to study, a group’s conversation about Miley Cyrus’ new haircut will fade into the background.

Librarians have also increased “noise patrol” in the ARC. Every member of the ARC team walks around to enforce rules like no eating and drinking. This might sound Draconian, but Posin insists, “It’s definitely not our goal to be police. It’s our goal to make sure the space is being used as it’s needed.”

Although the ARC’s new privacy speech system has made improvements in noise levels, I can’t help but think that there will always be loud students and faculty who are hard to ignore.