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What's your Graduate Student Lounge like?

  1. Mar 9, 2009 #1
    Hey all,

    I'm in the process of pushing for a good graduate student lounge (in a physics department) at my university.

    I'm curious, what is your graduate student lounge like? Does one exist? Is it awful, mediocre, or pretty cool? What's in it?

    If you wouldn't mind including what department and university you're from, it would be helpful.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 9, 2009 #2
    Not bad actually. It's not the best but it's not like it's in a subbasement or anything. If you're pushing for a better lounge, I'd actually write out a plan for what you want (reasonable things on the list tend to help) and a free room if you want to relocate it. I've found specific requests usually go through better than "Make it better!" which is ambiguous.
  4. Mar 9, 2009 #3
    A grad student lounge? I've never heard of such a thing. Why would you even need one?
  5. Mar 9, 2009 #4
    I wouldn't classify the one we (as physics graduate students at the University of Colorado) had as a "lounge" per say. We all had by-ID-card access to one of the top two rooms in "the physics tower" but sometimes research groups would have the room reserved for group meetings, thesis defenses, etc (there was a projection screen for use... if you brought a projector). It was L shaped, so you could still work at the other end... but you'd have to be respectful. Typically groups would put a sign on the door if the room was in use. We did, however, have access at night... when as first year students with lots of coursework, we'd tend to collect. The first year I was there, the furniture was kinda grungy, but the department had it replaced by my second or third year. There was one chalkboard, several large "lunch-style" tables, some chairs to go with the tables, and a lot of those kinds of chairs that can be pushed together to make couches (good if you're working long hours and need a nap). Some research groups (for example condensed matter) had their own lounges (with lunch tables and fridges).

    As an undergrad, we had a pretty grungy lounge in the basement (at the University of Dayton, OH). We made it a bit better by repainting the walls (with physics equations and quotes... using SPS funds to buy the paint); I recovered one of the two decrepit couches, and we threw out the other because one of the majors had his mom donate an old couch. Besides the couches there were at least five-6 desks (a nice number for a department that graduated only about 3 majors per year). One desk had a key that got passed down from graduating senior to rising senior... with the most dedicated rising senior getting the key at the end of the year right before the last person with the desk graduated. The fridge eventually stopped working... I think the department replaced it. But that room unfortunately got torn down when the physics building was joined to the chemistry building. I went to visit during construction... and my painting of Schrodinger's cat had it's "alive" head cut off! Guess that measurement was made. We also had an old "tube" radio and record player unit... it worked when we fixed it up, but I think it got thrown out in the construction. :grumpy: not sure what the students there have now.
  6. Mar 9, 2009 #5
    The math lounge at Chicago is pretty nice. There are about 10 leather couches, a long, wooden table on which to work, and a rather large chalkboard that can be used upon opening "windows" on the walls (so that when the chalkboards are not in use, the room looks like any other room). I would definitely vouch for a few chalkboards, as these would be the most essential part of any physics lounge, IMO.
  7. Mar 9, 2009 #6
    Ours is pretty nice. It's just a bunch of couches in a central area with offices radiating off from it for the graduate students that aren't attached to any particular research group . It also tends to be a pretty lively place with people hanging out there pretty much all the time. It also has a small kitchen area with a microwave and a refrigerator.
  8. Mar 9, 2009 #7


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    My university doesn't have one for physics (although most other grad depts seem to have them). The undergrads have a really big one, but who wants to hang out with them? Plus they keep trashing it and getting locked out - I wish they'd just use the room for more grad offices instead.

    My office was the unofficial lounge for a few years (we figured if we kept adding furniture in the way of table and couches from surplus they stop trying to cram more students in there with us - worked for a while). The important thing were the fridge, microwave, and a few decks of cards.
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