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Campus Corners – The Greatest Lecture Hall EVER

In which Bwog staffer Mark Krotov familiarizes us with the places where you can find him when he’s supposed to be in class.

When I took chemistry in high school, I sat in front of a sink that I regularly turned on and off to prevent myself from falling asleep. When Columbia students take chemistry, they take it in the most beautiful lecture hall on campus, 309 Havemeyer. As any General Chemistry student could tell you, to call 309 a classroom is akin to referring to calling Low Steps a back staircase.

The hall is mind-boggling, both in its scale and its slightly archaic beauty—it seats 330 students and is adorned with beautiful (and pleasingly unrenovated) dark wood paneling. Like an early twentieth century “stadium-seating” amphitheater, 309 has ascending rows of seats in the middle, in addition to balconies near the top and on the sides of the hall. While the cold fluorescent light probably makes Blue Books seem even more unappealing, casual moviegoers see the hall for what it really is—a thing of beauty. Why casual moviegoers? Because 309 has been featured in films as diverse as Spike Lee’s Malcolm X, Barbra Streisand’s A Mirror Has Two Faces, both Ghostbusters films, and, most recently, 2004’s Kinsey. And while General Chemistry may be a bit less compelling than a lecture on unconventional sexual habits, 309 is far more pleasing than either event.

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