Mike Truong '20
Where can freshman go to blow off some steam after a long week of MPS calculations and Humanities essay-writing? The Masland Room in the Student Center should be their destination, as it is undergoing a major renovation designed to make it a desirable hangout for students to gather and spend their free time.
Masland now features various retro arcade games like Street Fighter II, Galaga, Pac-Man, Centipede, and Super Smash Brothers Ultimate. In addition to these games, there is also a brand-new ping-pong table and Nintendo Switch. Future improvements that are currently being contemplated include large TV screens, an air hockey table, and new board games.
The goal of the Masland renovation is to “strengthen the social aspect of the Peddie community”, said Michael Agosto, director of community life at Peddie. “Masland is the most underutilized space on campus”, he continues. Mr. Agosto hopes that the renovation will transform the room into a vibrant social center where Peddie students can spend time together in a fun and relaxed setting. While Mr. Agosto already believes that Peddie has a strong sense of community, he added “every great boarding school has such a communal student center…adding this space would make Peddie even stronger”.
Mr. Agosto collaborated with the entire freshman class, as well as the class representatives, to put the Masland improvements into motion. After Blair Day, he presented his idea for improving Masland to the freshman class, which responded positively. The freshman class then “put pen to paper” by inputting their ideas in a Masland survey created by the Freshmen Class Representatives. According to Freshman Class Representative Kate Guittari ’22, “the goal of the project was to bring the freshman class together by providing them with their own designated space to hang out and enjoy each other’s company”. With Peddie freshmen needing to acclimate themselves to a variety of new academic and extracurricular responsibilities, her hope is that that Masland can help them “escape these pressures for a bit and enjoy some time to be kids.”
Early feedback on the Masland renovations has been very positive. The additions to Masland “have given a previously unused space a newfound spark of life”, states Joseph Dicola ’22. Joseph believes that the Masland project has provided day students with a space “to make Peddie feel like home”. Advaith Hari ’22 added, “playing games in Masland can provide us with a release from the stress of our daily lives by socializing with friends and meeting other like-minded students”.
The Masland renovation project is far from over. Going forward, Mr. Agosto plans to hold an SNA in Masland every weekend as well as other activities such as Yoga. “My hope is that Masland does not serve as just a freshman lounge, but a lounge for students from every class.” said Agosto. Finally, Class Representative Guittari hopes to work with Mr. Agosto to fix the unexplained “Masland Smell”, the source of which has yet to be determined.