A world away from the noisy, bustling food court of the Erb Memorial Union, the Taylor Lounge sits neatly tucked between a staircase to the EMU Ballroom and glass doors leading to the Mills International Center. The size of a classroom (with soft carpet underfoot), the lounge features tall windows that allow friendly sunlight to flow inside. Here, a student can slip away from the stressful world of academia and take a peaceful rest, without leaving the campus completely. When it’s cold and rainy outside, the room can be a refuge for an entire flock of wet, weary students.
Long ago, this space was known as the Leather Lounge, due to its collection of prim and proper leather chairs. But it was renamed to honor the memory of Thomas H. Taylor ’41, who died while commanding a bombing raid in France in early 1943. His portrait now hangs in the lounge, kitty-corner to a patchwork quilt created collectively by members of the University’s clubs. The lounge has grown cozier as the years have gone by, and it is now filled with plush couches and chairs, some so worn that the fuzz is now flat. Add in artificial plants, and the Taylor Lounge looks like a student’s funky basement apartment—the perfect place to crash on a couch.
What’s amazing is how strongly the unspoken no-talking rule is enforced. If a cell phone goes off or people start chatting loudly, many dirty looks are thrown. There is no sign on the wall. There is no book of regulations for the Taylor Lounge, but if a group is loud while others are trying to work or sleep, a wave of narrowed eyes will fly their way.
The Taylor Lounge is a safe place, where students scrunch up their faces in concentration and even the most self-conscious “cool kid” feels free to sleep sprawled out, vulnerable to the world. When the weather turns cold, someone will occasionally light a fire in the fireplace, sealing the room against the rainy world outside.
—By Brit McGinnis
Brit McGinnis (napping above in the Taylor Lounge) is a senior psychology major.