Dispatches from the Department of English, Part 1: Sophmore Sophia Buonavolonta offers a view from Decio Commons

Author: Sara Judy

Sophia Buonavolonta doing work in Decio Commons
Sophia Buonavolonta enjoying Decio Commons and a cup of tea

Each semester the English Department at Notre Dame employs several undergraduate student-workers. This week, we're featuring dispatches from two of our current undergraduate English employees: Sophia Buonavolonta and Maggie Clark, both in their second year at Notre Dame.

First, Sophia offers a profile of Decio Commons, the English Department's multi-purpose common area which functions as a study space during the day and an event space in the evening.


The view from your friendly neighborhood English employee

by Sophia Buonavolonta

I’d like to say I started studying in Decio because of the calm environment, or because of the sense of security I feel surrounded by other studious individuals. While those factors do create a welcoming ambiance, the truth is that I came here for the free tea and coffee. As a first-year, I was shy about visiting campus buildings I had not seen before. When my friend brought me up here for a drink and to try out a new study space, I knew I had discovered a wonderful place.

Now, as an English major and employee of the department, I often frequent the English lounge. It is quiet but not silent—a perfect study environment. From doing homework with friends for hours to people watching out the window, I can always find something to do while in the English Department. What better place to write your midterm and final papers than a room full of English majors doing the same?

Decio is never crowded, so us regulars begin to form relationships. I became close with my friend from class because we both study here on Friday afternoons. Simpler relationships form too: I still greet the kind stranger who shared her laptop charger with me when I forgot mine. I also chat with my professors who pass by, developing a closer relationship with them.

As a Decio employee, I have begun to recognize everyone’s faces. From the professor who brings his service dog through the department at 2pm each weekday to the language tutor kindly helping her students, each person is unique and a wonderful addition to the English Department.

The English department is not only a place for you to meet with your professors or to visit once a semester for advising meetings. It is a place to relax, a place to form friendships.

So stop by, study in Decio, borrow a book…or come for your free coffee. :)