Ashlee Eve’s senior thesis carrel on the second floor of Case Library reflects many of her priorities, both academic and personal. Since her carrel is an academic space by definition, the first and most obvious piece of information one can learn about Eve from it is the topic of her Art History thesis, contemporary artist Vik Muniz and the role of appropriation and participation in his “Pictures of Garbage” portrait series, made from recycled materials. For many seniors, myself included, our senior thesis projects have become a defining factor in our intellectual identities as Colgate students. However, when one looks past her books, there are personal mementos that reflect Eve’s relationships and interests. Photographs of friends and families are the principal decoration on the main front-facing wall of the carrel, while Post-it notes, index cards and pieces of writing are taped to the two side-facing walls. Meaningful quotations and notes from friends who have stopped by her carrel are amongst these tokens-turned-decorations.
As we seniors spend more and more time in the library, and at our carrels specifically, our surroundings become even more important in this small space-within-a-space. These cubicle structures in which we are writing lengthy capstones to our undergraduate academic careers can be overwhelming places that wall us in. However, we can also make them into what Eve has made hers: a cozy cube, whose walls envelop us, remind us of things that make us smile and encourage us to keep researching and writing. The thesis carrel should not be a dreaded place. Its most basic function may be as a place to store books, but its best use is as a personal area in a sometimes overwhelming, often less personal library. Write on, seniors!
1. How does your carrel reflect your personal style?
My personal style is what makes me smile! It sounds cheesy but I’m a sucker for nostalgia and good memories, so I keep my carrel covered in everything from post cards that remind me of abroad to photographs of my childhood and my best friends! Anything that will get me through those long nights at Club Case.
2. Tell me about one particularly important item at your carrel.
I keep a photograph of my mom at my carrel, because every time I see it I automatically feel encouraged. My mom has always stood behind me and told me that I could achieve anything, and every time I look at her photograph I feel like she’s telling me just to take one more step at a time.
3. Where/from whom did you get your inspiration?
I get my inspiration from the people around me. I moved around a lot as a kid, and not being able to nail anything to rented walls meant a lot of taping and collaging (kind of like a college dorm). One thing I’ve always had enough of was photographs and memorabilia. I always liked hanging up reminders and moments with the people I love, and I just adapted it on a smaller scale for my carrel.
Contact Eliza Graham at [email protected]