I question the utility of this information. Perhaps other Colleges in the system with multiple buildings or satellites need this. For us, it just engenders confusion. One idea is to plaster “Building 2” on our facade and have signs in the lobby proclaiming our secondary status. Another is to hold orientations for incoming students educating them on the geography of City Colleges. Maybe we could even make it a credit-bearing class. A third is to print explanations on the student schedules. I suppose we could also just remove it from the schedules, but I am loathe to toy with the revered traditions that students have come to expect and embrace. In the interest of fairness, however, I am open to suggestions. Post away.
Yesterday, I stood in the lobby from 7:45 – 10:45 AM, and again from 5:15 – 6:00 PM, to welcome faculty and students to the first day of summer term. I wore my best suit, my brightest Harold Washington orange tie, and what I hoped was a welcoming smile. The day, even at 8 AM, was brutally hot and humid, and you could see the relief of students as they entered our cool lobby. For those without headphones, or with music turned down enough to hear the outside world, they met my greetings with a smile, a nod, a return “Good Morning” or “Good Afternoon,” and very often, with questions.
As one would expect, the second most frequent question was where their class was and how do they get there. Many asked where they could get their ID, their ID sticker, or a UPass. A small number had questions about where they could find the business office, financial aid, or admissions. I especially enjoyed the student who came in and said, “I have a class, but I don’t have my schedule, and I am not sure which class it is, but it is something in math.” The officers at the front desk and I, along with the help of our summer schedule, managed to get her to the right room.
The most surprising question, though, and the one asked most frequently, was, “Is this Building 2?”
When first confronted with the question, I was baffled. There, prominently printed on every student schedule to the left of their classroom number, is a notation, “Building 2.” I could not dispute the fact. In an effort to be helpful, I returned the question with a question of my own, “Are you taking a class at Harold Washington College?” When answered affirmatively, I assured them they were in the right place. After the fifth or sixth inquiry, however, I had to solve the mystery of Building 2.
Speculation among the staff on the first floor was rife. Perhaps Building 2 was the recognition that our current location was our second location. Others speculated we were designated as the second building east of State Street, the traditional Point 0 in the Chicago grid. An officer with gravitas then declared that each building in the district is assigned a number. District is Building 1, and we are Building 2. Someone has captured this fact in PeopleSoft, and we helpfully print it on each and every student schedule.
Thus equipped, I re-took my central position in the lobby and confidently informed all comers that “Yes, this is Building 2.” Faces beamed upon confirmation that they were in the right place, especially when they arrived in the lobby 30 seconds before class time.