By Igor Ponomarev
Regardless of how familiar you may be with the College’s Greek Life system, it is nearly impossible to deny that the Greek portion of the student body tends to dominate certain on-campus locations. With approximately 14 percent of undergraduate students involved in the school’s 27 Greek organizations, their presence is felt througout the campus.
Anyone who spent the last couple of weeks of the fall semester studying diligently in the library can attest that the third floor is filled by various members of Greek life. Likewise, those surfboard shaped tables in Eickhoff tend to fill up with brothers and sisters donning their letters and colors (referred to as standards) during usual dining hours. Of course, this pales in comparison to the lunchtime gathering of the Greeks, known simply as “cubes.”
The Brower Student Center comes to life during peak lunch hours, seeing heavy foot traffic, constant table stands, live performances and the like, but nothing is more overwhelming than the body of students consuming the various retro-styled, tacky couches in the atrium. To passersby, this may seem just like the spot where every student takes their afternoon lunch break between classes. Cubes, aren’t just a location, but a daily event — a modern day watering hole for an entire community of Greeks.
Interestingly enough, many Greeks that call this their midday rest stop don’t even know the origin of the name “cubes” — specifically how it is used and why it refers to what is now a collection of rounded, oddly colored and patterned couches and coffee tables. A few years ago, before the cubes we know today, the student center held a very different image. Instead of curvy couches, there were blocky, wooden benches stretched across the brick wall that separates the cubes from the food court, the inner seating was a similar blocky wooden design containing maroon cushions and, most curiously of all, small trees sprouted between the various cubes, separating each section from the next.
I was around for a few semesters of the old cubes. I vaguely recall Delta Phi Epsilon to one side, Delta Zeta to another, Phi Kappa Tau behind the trees in their own horseshoe shaped set of couches and various other organizations grouped around, claiming their own spots. I’m not exactly sure how long the tradition of “going to cubes” has been around this campus, but from what I’ve gathered not a single student, here, can remember the College without them.
Cubes are not just about eating — students can be found doing homework, promoting their planned philanthropic programs or more likely socializing and letting off some steam from their morning classes. Each day brings its own wave of students that have free time, as well as the usual stragglers that spend their evenings and Wednesday afternoons in their beloved cubes. The number of regulars has even prompted the school to arrange entertainment in the form of local bands, comedians and sometimes game shows, most of which, the cube patrons would agree, only disrupt the mellow atmosphere. It’s difficult to explain the occurrence, but that’s what makes it one of the longest traditions in the College’s culture.