By Savannah Lewis
Photos by Kourtney Husnick
We all look for a way to connect with others. Whether it’s through social media, our friend groups or other platforms, we as humans have an interest in communicating to one another, in sharing our views and beliefs. Students at Cleveland State University have found a way to share their feelings, likes and dislikes with a multitude of people, while reaping the benefits of doing so anonymously.
Students who enter one of the fourth floor women’s restrooms in Berkman Hall will notice an interesting form of communication. On the walls —scrawled in either pen, pencil or Sharpie — are a multitude of messages for others to read. From music and book recommendations to plans to overthrow the government, students at Cleveland State are spending their bathroom breaks expressing themselves.
Even with anonymity, the students that are vandalizing the walls are prone to spreading positivity to the students and faculty who read their comments. Areas of stalls are dedicated to encouraging messages and questions aimed towards the reader to respond about things they love about themselves.
As strange as this may seem, these stalls have created a community of people who support one another, as well as offers humor and awareness of issues that the writers may feel uncomfortable talking about in the open. Here are some of the more family friendly “installments” of Berkman Hall’s most chatty bathroom.
Poetry and art line the walls
If you visit this particular bathroom, you will notice the different engaging messages to stall visitors on their bathroom breaks. Drawings on the walls invite onlookers to join in on creating a graffiti masterpiece. Along with the art that decorates certain sections, some have taken to writing poetry like the piece shown below.
Students use this time in the bathroom to share their creative talents or to just enjoy creating artwork with strangers. There have been multiple drawings in this bathroom in the past that have incorporated various drawings from what appear to be different people.
The one shown on the right is a newer segment of the ongoing creation of art that occurs in the bathrooms daily. New pieces come and go on the walls of this Berkman Hall restroom, so there is always new artwork to discover when visiting this high-traffic restroom.
Support and positivity found in an unlikely part of campus
The stalls in the fourth floor bathrooms of Berkman Hall are not only a creative hotspot, but also one of support and love. Students have created spots on the walls where they encourage others to write about characteristics that they love about themselves. The walls are filled with kind and hopeful messages that remind others of their own worth. They try to offer a kind word for those who may be having a bad day, week or year.
Without speaking to each other or even knowing the people who may come across these messages, students who utilize the women’s restroom are working to support each other and offer words of encouragement. While there can be a few negative messages, they are more often than not surrounded by kind ones that try to dismantle the negativity that was left behind.
Quotes are left on the wall to help remind others — or even the writers themselves — that things will be OK. Some write out the problems they are experiencing, and others respond with hope and understanding.
Drown out the sounds of the bathroom with this unique list of songs
One of the most impressive items created in one of the bathrooms is the list of 68 songs compiled and written on the door of one of the stalls. The music in the list ranges form The Eagles to Notorious B.I.G. and shows a unique collection of music that the students of Cleveland State enjoy.
Music can be seen as one way to understand a person and how they may be feeling at one point, so this list gives a unique look into what some of the university’s population enjoys.
The Cauldron has compiled the lengthy and eclectic list into a Spotify playlist that can be listened to here: https://spoti.fi/326oIEz.
Politics, religion and social issues are just restroom talk
Sharing music and positive affirmations is only one aspect of this diverse form of communication. Others use it to share their religious beliefs, their political views and stand up for social issues that have importance to them.
The restroom is a place where one can have privacy while also being able to share their beliefs with the safety of anonymity. The restrooms on the fourth floor of Berkman Hall have a high traffic rate, so many students and faculty are able to see the messages of hope and defiance from people they may or may not know.
Scribbled on the walls are symbols for anarchy or communism. In the past, these walls have been used like the Wildfire app is now, to let other students know of problems on campus and keep people aware of issues surrounding Cleveland State’s community.