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Room 503

Dimly lit, tucked far into the corner of the 5th floor of the Hunter College North Building, Room 503: Journalism Lab fights against sleep to pursue conversations of literary craftsmanship. The dark shadows of the night creep shyly through the cracks in the plastic black shades, as if reminding the students once again they could be in bed. Yet, they proceed as if the night has not yet arrived. Trying hard to forget the two hours that remain still for the class.

Sixteen or so students type away on their laptops with the background of eighteen desktops on grey desks circling the room. All but two, display screensavers of a rainbow animation reminiscent of a spider swimming through water. The colors change from one end of the spectrum to the other. Purple, then pink, blue, green, yellow and then a repeat fading of colors from the inside to out. Each leg dances with full awareness of the stage it has to perform.

While chipped walls and broken furniture no longer make the breaking news at a CUNY school, Room 503 pushes its luck.  Already far below normal aesthetic standards, yucky light purple mounted bulletin boards cover each wall. Down below, the baseboard on the bottom of the heater has given up, falling dramatically like a wilted flower. A white circle table stands on one leg, promptly attached to a long, brown rectangular table.

Perhaps in a past world, Room 503 held a less reputable occupation of a hodgepodge storage facility. In the present, however, Room 503 smiles with tired, experienced lights as it cultivates the next generation of journalists during the day and the night.

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