Love it or hate it, the Underground is here to stay

BY AISLING DOHENY | The Statesman It’s been noted as a hidden treasure or a repurposed junk-room. Its relevance is questioned by some and celebrated by others. There is no denying the perplexity of the space and the numerous opinions that come with the Underground.

The Underground was not included in the student center renovation because it served as a storage space during and after the Kirby remodel. Also, student organizations were temporarily housed there during renovation.

To this day, though, it goes about unnoticed by many, buried beneath the prevailing Kirby lounge.  You may have noticed the spiral staircases in the Lounge that lead to the Underground.

“There is nothing specifically mentioned about it in our manual,” UMD tour guide Daniela Zimmer said. “I don’t mention it on my tours because it’s tucked away. No one sees it.”

It goes unmentioned by tour guides. Freshmen only hear about the Underground from upper classmen or by stumbling upon it by accident.

“My first time here was for the poster sale earlier this year,” student Kirby Whitehead said. “I thought that it seemed cool.”

Whitehead now spends three to five hours in the Underground each week. According to him the Underground stays relatively cool and void of big crowds.

“It’s not as quiet as the library but not as loud as the lounge,” he said. “It’s never that busy either, which I like.”

Whitehead spends time in the space to do homework or just enjoy quiet time away from roommates.

“It seems raggedy but it’s got some character,” he said.

Despite negative stigma attached to the space, several students like this character and choose to bask away in the exclusive ambiance that only the Underground can offer.

“It’s a unique set up, It’s not quite the 70s or 80s or 90s. I’m not quite sure what it is,” Underground first-timer Taylor Collette said. “It’s a mix of both.”

Collette appreciates the light level of the space. Other places on campus give her headaches.

“It’s nice that the lights are low for photosensitive people like myself,” she said.

The Underground was rid of televisions and video games in recent years but it still remains a popular spot for several students around campus.

“It just seems like a good chill spot. I mean, it has beanbag chairs,” Collette said. “I think I would definitely spend more time here in the future.”

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