Inside Bartley Exchange’s “Carpet Room”


Courtesy of Sam Rabkin/Villanovan Photography

Bartley Hall’s “Carpet Room” has been a hot topic with its recent closed doors.

Elena Rouse, Co-Culture Editor

The Business School’s Bartley Hall houses the Curley Exchange, a major social hub of Villanova’s campus. The dining and social spot’s location, conveniently across from the Ithan parking garage, is not only centrically located, but is an ideal place for students to congregate between classes, grab lunch, or do homework. But within this space’s realm, there is a room so hotly debated, so notorious, its doors have been locked up more and more in recent months to deter its stir. 

The room of which we speak? The Exchange’s “Carpet Room.” 

Dubbed its title for obvious flooring layouts, the Carpet Room is a separate, large room off of the Curley Exchange with moveable tables and seating for students. It is also often used as an events room. 

Usually, the room’s wide doors slide open to show the room is open for student business, but this past semester, students have been met with locks, with the room being closed more than ever before. 

The whisperings as to why this is happening is that the Carpet Room, to some, emanates a less than ideal culture.

 In a survey sent out to students, voluntary respondents both anonymous and named wrote out their thoughts.

It is an overwhelming, unwelcoming collection of frat bros with a few sorority girls sprinkled in during the day and a dumping ground for their trash upon their departure,” a junior in the Business School said. 

“Frat haven,” an anonymous senior said. “The carpet room is the place where all the different fraternities on campus hold tables and sit together. It’s a non exclusive-exclusive club space.”

A number of interviewees shared similar sentiments about the vibe of the Carpet Room, all intensely passionate about a room that oozes with exclusivity. 

Others, however, vehemently disagreed.

“It’s a nice place to hang out,” one senior in the Business school noted. 

As for the culture? “Welcoming,” the student reiterated. 

Or as another put it, a place for “Doing work and hanging out with friends.” 

To these respondents and more, the room is a convenient place to study, eat, and hang out with friends between classes.

Whatever one’s viewpoint about the room’s culture, something about it caused enough disruption for Business School Dean, Joyce E. A. Russell, to vocalize sentiments of inclusivity in an email sent to the entire Business School on Oct. 25. 

“As a reminder, this space was designed for inclusive gatherings where all students, faculty, staff, visitors, and employers are always welcome,” The email stressed. “As such, any community member should be able to use the space. It is our collective responsibility to practice Caritas and ensure this space is hospitable for all community members, irrespective of age, gender, race, ethnicity, ability, and/or other aspects of identity or affiliation.”

While the culture itself remains disputed, what can be confidently said is that the Carpet Room is densely populated with Greek life members, specifically male ones. 

Senior Owen Connor provided insight on the reasoning for the Room’s demographic.

“Greek life students do not have on campus housing or ANY space to hang out on campus so they have started hanging out in the carpet room,” Connor said. “According to Villanova’s Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, 42% of males in Greek Life are in the business school. This is compared to 25% of the student body being in the business school. Most of the fraternities on campus have between 60 and 80 members. In the carpet room of the exchange at any given time there is usually an absolute maximum of 20 guys per fraternity sitting at a table. Going back to the numbers, that is around 25% of each fraternity there at a given time. While I know this isn’t a perfect comparison, this 25% still compares to 42% of the fraternity members being in the business school.” 

While the numbers hold, they still do not change the fact that the room has been closed quite a lot this semester. However, whether one loves the room, hates it, or has no clue as to why there is an entire article written about it, students agree that solving any sort of issue the Carpet Room may or may not present does not come from closing its doors. 

“It makes the rest of the Exchange way too crowded and LOUD, and it is so hard to find somewhere to sit when I just want to eat or do work,” A sophomore and non-VSB student shared. “I live in the quad, so, for me, the closest place to do work on campus is Bartley; a good amount of the people in the exchange don’t even live on campus, and it’s annoying having to do work when they just take up space doing nothing.”

Even those against the Carpet Room expressed similar sentiments.

“As much as I don’t like the carpet room, closing it really messes with the seating available in the exchange and it gets super crowded,” a junior said.

If closing the Carpet Room is a clear wrong answer to the alleged permeating energy the room emits, then what is there to be done about the feelings some students have about the space?

“The long tables in the carpet room allows each fraternity to ‘claim their space’ in there, so if the school is concerned about that room only having fraternity guys in there, make it like a study lounge (take out the long tables, put in couches or computers in there),” A sophomore said.

Another student provided a more tongue and cheek response.

“Keep it open more. Might as well let the frats hang up their letters.”

Or an even simpler answer “Just make sure everyone cleans up their trash.”

No matter what one’s view is on the Carpet Room, or if it even matters to a person at all (“the room is harmless, and I don’t think people should be getting in a twist about it,” one student said), clearly there is much to be said about the tensions, the debates, and the interest it spurs. Whether one is a Carpet Room advocate or the president of its anti-fan club, the Carpet Room, so it seems, is here to stay…just, maybe with locked doors.