Drew University was founded in 1867. According to an article published by the University of California Press, a building or place is considered historic if it has existed for fifty years and has a connection to a major event or plays a role in history. At over 150 years old, Drew is solidly within the former category and bears historical significance as not just a university, but also a seminary upon its founding. Walking around campus gives anyone the chance to admire its age and a look at buildings such as Mead Hall, Seminary Hall and S.W. Bowne Hall clearly shows its historic architecture. Despite this, the states of some buildings across campus bear evidence that Drew is not giving the buildings the treatment they deserve.
From the outside, the library’s age is shown through elaborate columns, stone walls and decorative trims. Inside, the Baldwin Graduate study room has carpet lifting up from the floor covered in masking tape and water stains. It is meant to be a conductive environment where graduate students can work and feel inspired, but the room’s unkempt appearance distracts from the academic nature of the space. It’s historic beauty is tarnished by water marks on the walls, peeling paint, rust, mismatched furniture and wear.
There are other spaces, like the Graduate Commons room and Great Hall in S.W. Bowne Hall, that also shows evidence of a lack of upkeep In the Graduate Commons room, the ceiling shows signs of water damage, the walls are peeling and the windows are rusted and broken. Even the chairs are old and need repair or replacement; many are falling apart with unstable legs and disconnected armrests. The Great Hall is often empty, despite its appeal as a potential study space for students. While Drew advertises this space to be rented out for events like weddings and occasional clubs like the Philosophy Society meet here as well, it remains silent, dark and collecting dust.
So many of these places on campus are unique gems that other universities don’t have. We should cherish and take care of the integrity of our buildings and the rooms within. They are the first things potential students and visiting families notice and the appearance of the campus often attracts other visitors to Drew too. Well-kept historic buildings would also provide us with an inspiring workspace while also preserving Drew’s rich history. Aside from routine maintenance, even something as simple as repainting the ceilings and maintaining carpets, would help to reinvigorate the historic value of these spaces.