Turning the Tide of the Low Tide Lounge

An abandoned game room piques students’ curiosity.


Gem Arbogast

The Low Tide Lounge viewed from the outside

Gem Arbogast, Arts & Entertainment Editor

The Pagoda Union Building (PUB) is the heart of SCC’s campus for good reason. It holds important gathering spaces from the cafeteria to the Gender Equity Center, along with a surprisingly well-stocked bookstore compared to the desolate foodservice. On any given weekday, the PUB teems with student life. That is, except for one room.

The Low Tide Lounge is situated in the PUB’s basement, across from the library and adjacent to the Benefits Hub office. Peering through the windows, one can make out a video game console, a ping-pong table and even a pool table in the dark room. Shoreline Today articles from the mid-2010s paint a picture of the Low Tide Lounge as a thriving gathering space for students to make friends, de-stress from finals and let go of the dark cloud of schoolwork for a bit. The lounge closed its doors shortly before the start of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. But as SCC slowly reopened, the lounge never came back.

Students’ interest in the Low Tide Lounge has grown significantly this year. As many return to campus, the Associated Student Government (ASG) faces increasing pressure to reopen it. But unbeknownst to those who weren’t around for its heyday, the lounge’s existence faces even more obstacles than the pandemic.

“We kind of had the same group of students using it, and it wasn’t a very welcoming environment at the time,” shares ASG Communications Officer Kai Hinch on why the Lounge was shut down. ASG faces a difficult decision: how to reopen it while being proactive about the social issues that plagued its earlier years. Their ideas include changing the way it’s advertised. “[We’re] trying to market it as a place for people to come hang out, rather than just playing video games, because that’s what it was primarily used for before,” Hinch says. To increase accountability, they plan to implement a lending system where students can temporarily check out equipment such as pool cues and ping-pong balls.

Additionally, there has been confusion around what group should control what happens to the lounge. “One of the reasons that it’s been closed for so long is that ASG is just trying to figure out what’s in our jurisdiction,” Hinch adds.

But whether the Low Tide Lounge is controlled by the student government or faculty, change on campus comes from student voices. ASG has been conducting surveys to determine a reopening solution that works for everyone. It was students’ curiosity that put this issue on the SCC community’s radar, and your input can shape what happens to it next.