A Thorough Investigation: What’s That on the Field?


Dora Lin

The Welcome Center in the morning.

Will Howley '23, Contributor

On the first day of school as we arrived on campus and were prompted to turn right to park, we all saw Loomis Chaffee’s latest addition: the tan, tiny house-like building near the Hubbard parking lot. At first, the purpose of the roughly 200 square-feet edifice was seemingly ambiguous. However, sometime in the first week, it was explained that the building was called the Welcome Center, and everything was clear…except it wasn’t.

The title “Welcome Center” is about as vague as the typical asynchronous assignment, leaving us with several unanswered questions that no one cared enough to ask. So, in an attempt to answer these questions, here are six conspiracy theories about what the so-called “Welcome Center” is really used for.

1. Housing for Batch and Howe

When we left the island in March in eager anticipation of spring break (how naive we were), there was some construction happening in the Rockefeller Quad on Batchelder and Howe dorms. As we arrived a few short weeks ago–5 months later than we had expected–we were greeted by the same loud construction we had left.
With the recent decision to bring the borders back for Fall Term 2, it is a little concerning that the construction on said dorms remains unfinished. So perhaps Loomis decided to build the Welcome Center for some extra housing for those who were supposed to stay in those dorms. Sure, the shed is a bit quaint, and the location is hardly convenient, but on the bright side, you’d probably be really close with your roommates…literally.

2. For Founders Faculty to Escape the Sound of Construction

Speaking of the construction, it has been fairly noisy for the past few weeks, and I am sure that faculty with offices in Founders are becoming irritated with all the commotion. So perhaps they use the Welcome Center as a place to escape the noise that is slowly but surely driving them crazy.

3. Place of Quarantine for those with COVID-19

A few weeks ago, every student and faculty member was tested for the COVID-19. The results of the tests, though now reported to be negative, were not released until just last week, which is conducive to some suspicion. Perhaps, to sweep the positive results under the rug, the community members who tested positive are currently quarantining in the Welcome Center. Is this Orwellian theory unlikely? Sure. But do we really have any way of proving it to be untrue? Maybe. But that’s why it’s a conspiracy theory.

4. Ice Cream

During a sophomore class meeting, Dean Donegan referred to the minuscule piece of architecture as “the ice cream shack.” This prompted the obvious question: where’s the ice cream? While the Welcome Center has not provided any sundaes or milkshakes yet, who’s to say that it won’t start sometime soon? It’s the perfect size for such a purpose, perhaps serving as a drive-thru as well. Considering the devastating loss of ice cream on Friday dinners, an ice cream shack would get some major business.

5. Storing the “Pelican Surprise”

In late July, all students received an email from LC Communications prompting us to fill out a survey with our T-shirt sizes for a “Pelican Surprise”. As we approach the end of Fall Term 1, we have yet to receive said surprise. Maybe the email was a way of giving us delusive contentment in uncertain times, but maybe the Welcome Center is serving as storage for our size small, medium, and large somethings. Hopefully, this theory is not in conjunction with theory #3, as the sequestered people would have probably used the Pelican Surprises as toilet paper by now.

6. To Store our Patience for 2020

200 square-feet might be too much.