My home in Schoonover

After a long day of classes, it is likely that you will find me sitting in the lobby at the Steven L. Schoonover Center for Communication.

After only 22 weeks in Athens at Ohio University, I have found Schoonover to be somewhat of a haven to destress, drink a cup of coffee from Front Room and to mentally prepare for the days ahead.

My favorite place in the building is the lobby, which is just large enough to fit a substantial amount of Scripps students who, like me, go there to relax, but still small enough to feel like a home. There’s even a fireplace — albeit fake — that I like to sit by when I come in from E Union St. on a cold winter’s day. If there are no seats available near the fireplace, or if I just need some time alone, I find myself gravitating toward the large green chairs that I can disappear into and get some work done.

And, while I love sitting in my little oasis on my laptop and working on assignments, there is another element of Schoonover Center that intrigues me all the same. Although to the unobservant eye Schoonover Center appears to be a building of new construction, the fact of the matter is that the building got its start as Baker Center in 1953.

The exterior of the Steven L. Schoonover Center for Communication.
The exterior of the Steven L. Schoonover Center for Communication.

I am in awe with the amount of history in the building in combination with the technological advances in the newest building at Ohio University. There’s such a contrast between the worn brick facade and the new state-of-the-art interior. Every day I learn something new about the building, whether it be a fact about the building’s history or some feature of the renovated building.

And to some, it might seem like I am always in Schoonover. In fact, two long nights first semester my friends and I even slept there. I became even more familiar those nights because in fits of desperation and pure exhaustion, me and other 18 and 19-year-old college freshmen played several rounds of hide-and-seek throughout the six-floor building at 5 a.m.

I may not know exactly how to properly pronounce it, but I am always at home in Schoonover Center.   

We’re not in Kansas anymore; there’s no place like hOUme


Schoonover Center for Communication Ohio University hOUme
Schoonover Center for Communication as seen from College Green

I recently watched a romantic comedy in which one character recited the line “a house is a place, but home is a feeling” (Sleeping with Other People).

Most Ohio University students don’t call Athens home. Rather, they call it ‘hOUme.’

hOUme is a place where we shape our careers, run into three people we know on the way to class and convince underclassmen to swipe us into the new dining hall.

For me, hOUme can best be narrowed down to Schoonover Center for Communication. The building was a mere rumor when I arrived for freshman orientation, but would come to have an extreme impact on who I am as a person.

In December of 2013, I was one of the first Ohio University students to enter Schoonover Center. The Dean’s Office, where I worked as an office assistant, would be the first office to move from the Radio-Television Building to Schoonover Center.

Gentry Bennett Instagram frame Ohio University Schoonover Center for Communication hOUme
Me holding an Instagram frame for my job as Social Media Student Manager for Scripps College of Communication

The building would evolve over the next two years in ways I never imagined. My duties as an office worker would be simplified: to deliver something to the School of Communication Studies I simply took an elevator ride, instead of a walk down Union Street. To go to class, I rode the same elevator to a room with four projection screens and dozens of televisions for active learning instead of walking to a then-mold-infested Scripps Hall.

In those elevator rides, classes, student organization meetings and work meetings, I found hOUme.

Now, Schoonover Center is my hOUme-base. I can be snapping pics for the social media accounts I run for Scripps College of Communication (yes, I got a promotion!) and see my best friends studying together in the lobby.

It’s a running joke in my friend group that if anyone texts me while they’re in Schoonover, chances are I’m already in the building and am on my way to join their lobby study session.

Some people might think that’s crazy, but I like to think I’m consistent.

Schoonover Center is hOUme.