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Saturday, November 9, 2013

How Bazaar

I love Happy People. Especially Laurel (background).
Let's just get this out of the way. As a vegetarian for almost 25 years, I still love the smell of bacon. But, if you must know, I love fake bacon. No gummy, greasy, membranes and fat and stuff. Not sure what I am eating with fake bacon, but I will call it a draw, at a minimum.

Last week I moved into my newest office, and it is in the Coates University Center. It is my ninth or tenth office at trinity. I have lost count. I have worked here as long as I haven't eaten meat. That's weird. So imagine my surprise to smell bacon in the Coates Center lobby this week. Yes, I inhaled. I do the same around secondhand smoke. As a former smoker - yes, since about 25 years ago - I still love the smell. I may be the only one that smokers try to get away from rather than the other way around.

The bacon purveyors were members of this new group on campus called Happy People. How can you not love a group whose mission is to spread happiness? I love them. But, I think I hurt their feelings them when I passed up taking some of their free joyful bacon. I told them I was part of a group named Happy Pigs which didn't want me to eat them. I may be the only one who follows smokers around AND offends Happy People. AND I don't wear cause ribbons. I need a secret entrance to my office.

The bacon sellers are only the latest group to have turned the Coates Center lobby into a market. Some days you can't get through the lobby without being barraged about buying a shirt to save/stop something, signing up for an event, pinning on a bow, or basically about changing your life. I would be a broke man if I bought everything students were trying to sell me. I don't even carry cash anymore. It makes me look cheap. And I AM cheap, but now students know it. Part of me wants it all to stop! The other part of me wants me to remind you that you can give to my Kayla Mire Food Drive in the Coates lobby next week (or give virtually). Because my cause is important. And you can donate bacon just this once.

There are some tentative changes in the works for the Coates Center pending approval later this year. The information desk is gone, because we didn't need one with the new one going into Northrup this September. That one is gone too now. Oops. We donated some leather furniture from the lobby to Northrup and we didn't want the University to spend more when we were looking to replace these anyway. And we wanted to let some animals keep their leather. But for the time being, the Coates lobby looks a little bit sad and like a pig sty. Sorry.

Hopefully the mailboxes will be relocated this summer, and the Coates Center will breathe. With night-time food service returning to the Commons the Coates Center is being resuscitated. Furniture options are being considered for downstairs and the mail area and the upstairs Alumni Lounge will be called the Loft. Trust me. What's more, the Counseling and Career area will be re-envisioned and a center for engagement may sprout up on the second floor of Coates. These are exciting times.

It makes sense to bring lots of life to Coates. Our current students deserve a student union feel in the building. We will look at multiple seating styles and areas that will allow for small study groups, eating, working, charging mobile devices, and even sleeping. And with the new admissions center across the way - with its black leather furniture and lack of an information desk - we need a place for prospective students and families to come and observe campus life up close and personal. Although that sounds like a zoo. Cruelty free.

Which brings us back to where we started. Whether it is bacon, free jewelry, YMCA memberships, or baked goods from the Trinity Women's Club, this aspect of Trinity life won't change. Hopefully the area from the esplanade, through the lobby, and out the north side of the Mail Center plaza can be a place where we can continue to buy, sell, and barter. We need a place for our Wednesday nacho hours and our Friday Bella-Tone concerts. We need a place that lives, breathes, and even smells. Day and night. It will be hog heaven. Oink.

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