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Reading Room Attracts Outside Students

By Deena S. Disraelly
Staff Reporter

Not only does the reading room, located on the fifth floor of the Student Center, provide a quiet study environment for MIT students, it is also attracting students from other area schools.

According to a group of Tufts Medical students, students from their school, Harvard Medical School, Northeastern University, and Harvard University like to study in the room because it is open 24 hours a day.

The reading room reopened in April 1991; it was closed in 1988 when renovations on the lower floors of the Student Center forced offices to move to the fifth floor. The room provides cubicles for individual study, tables for group study, and a separate area with couches and chairs for reading or group study.

Usually, non-MIT students use the reading room only during exam periods "because people stay up real late," said Roy Lin from Tufts Medical School. "But we're here a lot," he added.

"We've been here every night for the past week until 3 a.m.," said Vaivhav Khasgiwala, another Tufts Medical School student.

Many students noted the convenience of having a study room that is open all the time.

"One of the reasons I came to MIT was the 24-hour libraries," said Dean K. Christakos '96. He studies at the reading room almost every night and has occasionally come close to falling asleep in his cubicle, because "it is impossible to study in my fraternity."

"We come here because it's open past midnight," said Jin Seung from Tufts Medical School.

The Tufts Medical students live in the Back Bay area. They come to study at MIT for many reasons, including their inability to get any work done at home or at Tufts.

"The hours [at the Tufts library] are very inconvenient. It's open until 11 p.m. during the week and from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends," Khasgiwala said.

"Plus, we're [at Tufts] all day.... It's a change of environment," Seung added. "And, we have no place of our own."

The Tufts Medical students were introduced to the reading room by another Tufts Medical student who had graduated from MIT. She came back to the room because it was quiet and brought friends with her. Since then, third-year students have told current second-year students about the room and its advantages.

Among these advantages are the close proximity of the SCC 24-Hour Coffeehouse, Lobdell, LaVerde's, and the video games. "It is safe, and we don't have to bundle up to get food or take a walk," said one Tufts Medical student.

"I come here because the coffee shop is open 24 hours. It's seriously key. There are other places that are open past midnight, but then around 2 a.m., you have to move," Khasgiwala said.

MIT students don't seem to mind the invasion. Terrence L. Evans '95 didn't even know that some students in the reading room were not from MIT. He uses the Reading Room about three times a month for typical reasons. "I guess I come here because it's convenient. You have Athena here, you have the eating places," Evans said.

"I really have no problem with [non-MIT students] being here as long as they keep quiet," said Kevin T. Hwang '93, who uses the reading room two or three times a week.

"Rarely has the room been totally full, but it's been crowded enough so that it was loud," said Pierre E. Jalkh G. He uses the reading room four to five times a week and always on weekends.

The Tufts Medical students say that it's not normally loud in the reading room, but even when it is loud, the MIT students are the ones talking. "It's not that bad. If it were, we would go someplace else," said one student.

Seung said, "Especially at two in the morning on Friday night, there are more Tufts people here than MIT people. It's our second home."