North Texas Daily

The UNT Language Building needs a serious upgrade

The UNT Language Building needs a serious upgrade

The UNT Language Building needs a serious upgrade
December 05
11:28 2019

It’s no secret that UNT is an old campus with some significantly old buildings. Some buildings on campus have gotten fixed up over the years, though. Namely, the Union, Sage Hall, Sycamore Hall, the Art building and more recently, Willis Library.

In case you’re unaware, the Language Building is home to the Department of World Languages, Literatures and Cultures on campus. French, Japanese, Russian, German, Chinese, Spanish and English classes are all taught in this one building. As a senior Spanish major, I spend a significant amount of my time in the Language Building. It has it’s own stylish exterior, like the entrance with the gazebo, but the interior is noticeably outdated. I’ve had the chance to observe certain aspects of the Language Building and Spanish department for the last couple of years.

The Language Building is a place with obviously a lot of diversity and culture, so there needs to be more space to hold events. Space is really tight, unfortunately. It’s almost always cramped in there unless you’re there at an obscure hour. 

The tutoring center that was made available to students is too small and hidden, as well. There’s one desk designated for each language and the dimly-lit room isn’t all that welcoming to begin with. I’ve passed by it numerous times without even realizing it was a tutoring center. It’s also an obnoxious space to be in when you hear people trying to talk to one another in different languages or in the same language, which then makes it seem that people are trying to all talk over the other people in the room. It becomes distracting and can interfere with your learning.   

All the languages and cultures are smushed together awkwardly in the building. You turn a left and you see half a wall of Japanese information and the other half covered with Spanish information. Then to your right, you have another completely different set of languages. There’s more than one language on each wall of the narrow hallway, and it makes everything feel too full, overwhelming and unorganized.

It’s not effective having so many different ones in a single confined space. There should be a larger dedicated space for each. It would feel more personal and not just thrown into the mix randomly. You see flyers of different events for different languages stacked on top of each other and you’re forced to weed out the one you’re interested in. 

For example, the Spanish department hosted several events for Hispanic Heritage Month back in October, but the lobby of the building is so tiny that it made the events much less enjoyable than it should have been. Holding different events there made it hard to fit everyone in the space and left no room for students to pass by for their classes. There was even Baile folklórico outside that forced people in between the doorway because it was cold out. It all felt a bit chaotic.

Occasionally, there are other events that involve dancing such as the Spain-originated Flamenco dance or the ever so popular salsa dancing. These end up being held in the really small rooms that I’ve had a class or three in. Desks and chairs need to be moved and it still feels like you’ll step on someone’s toes or bump into them.

The Language building getting an upgrade would help serve students well. It would also help serve the Spanish department better so it can keep growing and holding events, especially now with UNT on the way to becoming a Hispanic Serving Institution. 

The Spanish department has yet to reach its full potential. Although I’m grateful for my time there, it’s obvious that changes need to be made.

Featured Illustration: Jeselle Farias

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Natalie Thomas

Natalie Thomas

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