As physical visits to Fletcher aren’t currently possible, this series attempts to provide the next best thing in the form of a blog-based virtual tour. Having last scaled Fletcher’s heights with our visit to the 7th floor, today we’ll plumb its depths with a look at the Cabot basement.
Basements get something of a bad rap. Your Pennywises and Babadooks always seem to be basement lurkers, and no sports team cares to be known as a “cellar dweller.” My generation will always harbor suspicion toward the Alamo for allegedly stashing Pee-wee’s beloved bicycle in its basement. I like to think Fletcher provides a little push-back to these preconceptions with the Cabot basement, a warren of study, lounging, and meeting spaces whose recent facelift has made it even more of a go-to location.
With the variety of classes, study groups, student organizations, and individual research going on at Fletcher at any given time, meeting and working space is at a premium. While the basement of the Cabot building has long had a number of breakout areas available, until a few years ago it had something of the feel of an unfinished suburban basement in which a bunch of boxes were pushed aside to make room for a ping pong table. Serviceable, sure, but mainly the place you’d go when you were out of better options. In recent years, though, this area of the Fletcher complex has become more of a hot spot for small group meetings, individual study, and even the odd class or two. A significant redesign about two or three years ago resulted in several new small conference and meeting areas, a great deal of additional seating, and all work spaces being equipped with full A/V and videoconferencing technology.
The Cabot basement is now a great spot to dig in for full-day DM&E group meetings, to have a conference call or Zoom interview, hold a seminar course, or conduct a student group meeting. Just head down staircases on either side of the Hall of Flags to find accommodations ranging from the very small (4 people or fewer) to conference room and small classroom-size. It also has its own restrooms, sink, vending machine, and a lesser-known microwave, making it close to a fully-equipped biosphere for those looking to get some serious work done. We’ll always encourage students to come up for air and sunlight every now and then, but it’s increasingly understandable that many folks will set up shop for long stretches down here.