Editorial | Study spaces should feel more inviting


Pamela Smith | Visual Editor

Students study on the newly renovated second floor of Hillman Library.

By The Pitt News Editorial Board

Hillman library’s first floor just went through a renovation and reopened for student use. While there are better seating options and a more open floor plan in this newly renovated space, the library has lost some of its liveliness. 

The fluorescent lights, lack of artwork on the walls and the primarily black and white color scheme give off a dull vibe. A lifeless study space in which students spend most of their time makes studying harder. It’s important that students feel comfortable in their study space and feel like they can be productive.

We spend hours at a time studying in different places around campus, from the Cathedral to Hillman to the William Pitt Union. But some of these places lack color and have harsh lighting, making the study spaces feel more like hospital waiting rooms. 

Fluorescent lighting especially can cause headaches, which are not helpful when studying for important tests. Even having comfortable chairs is conducive to learning. Study spaces, especially libraries, should provide a comfortable environment in which students feel like they can get their work done without the lighting and uncomfortable chairs harming their well-being. 

While maybe not as obvious, having artwork on the walls or a homey feel to a study space can also help students operate more productively. A grayscale, sterile space that lacks personality makes students feel like they are in a hostile learning environment. Having a space that features artwork and warm colors allows students to feel like they can learn in a space that feels enjoyable while doing difficult coursework. Study spaces with some personality to them can have positive effects on studying overall. 

All study tips seem to reflect certain principles — comfort, minimal distractions and a place where you feel like you can actually get work done. It’s extremely important that our study spaces on campus reflect this. While having the latest technology is crucial in a space like a library, it’s also necessary to have a space where students can feel comfortable and are able to study productively. 

Students rely on these university spaces for productivity, but when our library lacks character, doing so can be hard. School itself is really difficult, and not everyone has an environment at home that is conducive to studying. It’s important for the university to provide spaces where students actually feel like they can get their work done effectively and efficiently in a place where they feel at home — especially when they may not even feel at home in the places they live. 

While we appreciate that the University wants to update a space that they feel has gone obsolete, there are ways to do it that make it feel less lifeless and more like a place where students feel welcome. Having uncomfortable lighting or less space to stretch out makes learning harder. We want and deserve spaces that feel like they have personality, that feel homey.