Destroying the Sweet Shop was stupid enough after its 93 years of serving generations of Boilermakers, but erecting a permanent roadblock in the busiest and grandest hallway of the 97-year-old Purdue Memorial Union might rank higher among the dumbest ideas in University history.
Welcome to Purdue! Road closed! Where once a proud people roamed en masse now sits a glass-encased kitchen. What’s next? Ballrooms for skateboard runs?
Surely no self-respecting Purdue alumnus fostered such structural masochism. Only hateful outsiders could transform Purdue’s most visited and most iconic building into a bad joke, one still in progress, despite the gut-busting punchlines already delivered.
Purdue actually paid for these plans? To someone handing over a scribbled napkin while falling off their stool? Surely campus leaders didn’t look closely before rubber-stamping. Why knowingly leap like lemmings into the deep dregs of iconoclasm?
Oh, yes, let’s build a see-through kitchen blockade to plug the most-used entrance for the University’s showcase. Instead of access, let’s greet those throngs of visitors with an immediate dead end, a wall of glass inside a (surprise!) restaurant, sans signs or sense of direction.
Aspiring visitors seeking more than a wine list must somehow happen upon an unmarked detour, a compact side corridor, winding ways around nondescript vendors, hotel stairs, elevator banks and restrooms, in hopes, and in hopes alone, folks will eventually emerge on the opposite side of the looking glass.
And what a unique view! Window to the world of burger flips! They’ve thrown in everything, even the kitchen sink! Never mind other reasons for that long, historic hallway.
The glorious Union, three years shy of its centennial, has lost the civil war of uncivil engineering. Damn the Sweet Shop, full speed ahead? Oops.
Mr. President, tear down this wall.
— Tim Costello, class of 1978