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Massive Bench Graces SU Porch

By Miles Bryan '13 on July 24, 2012 03:52 PM

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Photo by Miles Bryan '13

For years the porch by the Paradox Café has been graced by an anonymous series of sofas. Coffee-sipping students slouched across them at all hours; their fabric and stuffing distressed by wrappers, cigarette butts, and water damage. Eventually a student union manager would remove a couch for detoxification. A new couch would arrive. Repeat.

The installation of a set of beautiful wooden benches to the Paradox porch last week finally broke the fabric cycle. The 300- to 400-pound sectional benches were hand hewn from a magnificent Douglas fir that stood for nearly 200 years on the east side of campus before falling three winters ago.

The project is the brainchild of Marie Perez '12, an economics major and avid outdoorswoman. She discovered pieces of the fir tree laying in the parking lot behind the Studio Art building last winter. They resonated with her, and when she overheard the SU and Paradox managers talking about buying new sofas, Marie had a better idea.

It took almost six months of planning for Marie to get funding, help, and Reed's consent. Work finally began in spring semester reading week and went through early summer. Marie and a merry band of volunteers spent hundreds of hours cutting, crafting, and sanding, and turned the huge wooden blocks into benches. Often the work was brutal, but Marie says that the finished product was "really fulfilling."

"It is really beautiful to see it," she said. "It is pretty from a lot of different angles."

The fabric couches will not be missed.