Our campus has a lot going for it—oak trees, magnolias, the Parade Ground, a live tiger. It fails miserably, however, in the bookstore department.
Even just the words "bookstore" and "coffee shop" connote coziness, warmth and a pleasing aesthetic. Nevertheless, the Barnes and Noble bookstore fails miserably. The colors are bland, the lighting is nauseating and the inventory is full of tacky, overpriced LSU-themed junk.
I would go as far as to say that the building and its contents are creepy.
This might seem like an insignificant bone to pick with our university, but I would argue that it matters. We're now in the middle of October, right on the cusp of a change towards autumnal weather that primes students for nestling inside with their textbooks and a coffee, and yet one of the central studying spaces on campus shares more in common with a Walmart than any of the academic buildings surrounding it.
The LSU bookstore hosts shelves upon shelves of nightmares. There are the cheesy self-help books and celebrity memoirs with their terrible attempts at relating to younger crowds. There is the snack section, featuring nutrient-deficient snack food in packaging that wastes way too much plastic. You also have the school supplies, overpriced due to their LSU branding.
The bookstore is one of the few shopping options for students who live on-campus without a car. Sure, there are convenience stores located on campus, such as the 459 Outtakes and Take 5, but these businesses are also underwhelming. Overpriced boiled eggs wrapped in plastic and little snack packs are not sustainable or energizing food options.
If you ever need a place to study or to grab a coffee, I would avoid the LSU bookstore at all costs. Seriously, unless you have to get a textbook only available from the LSU bookstore, I’m telling you, don’t go in there.
Other opinion columnists have previously critiqued the architecture of certain buildings on campus, particularly Lockett Hall. Lecture halls should encourage learning and enlightenment; functional, well-planned architecture is essential to lifting students' moods and concentration. Bland buildings that treat interior design as an afterthought, on the other hand, take away from a positive learning experience.
Considerable attention has already been given to the LSU Library's dismal condition, and for good reason. Libraries serve as reflections of a university's academic culture, so the implications of an underfunded, moldy library are...disturbing.
The same attitude should be applied to our bookstore. The spot where students go to buy books and other school supplies, or maybe even just to study and get coffee, should be enriching and welcoming.
It should not be creepy and blinding, reeking with the worst aspects of corporations and consumerism sneaking their way into academia.
Kathryn Craddock is a 21-year-old mass communication junior from Patterson, Louisiana.