An open letter on the infamous Thurston Hall

An Open Letter to the Firm that Renovates Thurston:


First of all, good luck. I don’t want to think about the things you might find in the walls of the Thurston Zoo but I hope they make you laugh.


In all seriousness, the current setup of Thurston does not allow for good mental and physical health of 1100 young adults. I worry that Thurston is not the best representation of GW. There are articles upon articles online about how horrible the building is but none of them address how it can possibly be fixed.

After living in Thurston for the past 6 months, my experience has been sometimes very positive and sometimes very negative. This building has the opportunity to be an amazing community for GW freshman if it is built right. 

According to a 2014 study by the National Sleep Foundation, 66% of American children have their own room. Coming to college is already a huge adjustment and sharing a room with many people is a monumental part of this adjustment. 

The primary issue is the lack of communal space for students on each floor. This design forces students to either stay isolated in their rooms, spend their time away from the dorm or take an elevator to a poorly lit and strange-smelling basement or the usually loud first floor meeting rooms. 

On top of this, due to the crammed nature of many of the rooms in Thurston, there lacks little privacy to take a phone call or study quietly. These community spaces on each floor would both make freshman more social and willing to branch outside of their comfort zone but also, it would give them a place to get away from their room without leaving the dorm. 

I am grateful for my time in Thurston and I’m sure many thousands of other GW students feel the same way. It taught me to appreciate the little things that I am lucky to have and how to make the best of any situation. 

As a firm, it is your responsibility to ensure this type of experience for future GW students. all I ask is that you consider the interests of the students and how your design choices will create a community amongst a bunch of nervous yet excited college freshmen.