I noticed some pretty interesting things when I was â€śreadingâ€? the first floor of Coffman Union. The first thing that I noticed was the arrangement of the chairs and couches. They are arranged in small squares or rectangles facing inwards. Iâ€™m guessing that the purpose of this is much like one of the U of Mâ€™s goals: to promote individual communities through small groups or clubs. The people sitting in these small communities were usually not all of one ethnicity; in some cases, many ethnicities were represented. However, it didnâ€™t appear as if anyone was communicating with one another. They were either sleeping, eating, or doing homework solemnly. I think that a majority of the noise on Coffmanâ€™s first floor comes from the through traffic, and not the people sitting.
Unlike the first floor, the second floor is almost completely segregated in many ways. I have spent a lot of time on the second floor between classes because it is much quieter than the first, and I can study. Firstly, the second floor is where most of the student organizations are: the GLBTA, the Muslim group, the womenâ€™s group, and some others that I canâ€™t remember. Throughout my observations over the course of the semester, I noticed that the members of any one group do not associate with members of any other group. This is strange because all of the group offices are in a row on one side of the hallway, and members are constantly passing one another in the hallway. I understand that the purpose of these groups is to offer a small community for students of certain backgrounds, but, at the same time they seem to be promoting segregation, and creating rifts between groups. Segregation also occurs outside of these groups. For instance, different ethnicities tend to sit with one another, and ex-communicate everyone else. I understand why this is, but I still think itâ€™s sad. Itâ€™s the twenty-first century, and weâ€™re still afraid of people who are different.