Short-Term Mod Pod Initiates Long-Term Change

Illustration by Caroline Li
Illustration by Caroline Li

The bright orange Mod Pod is the latest addition to the Colorado College campus. Home to numerous tables and couches, as well as the famous Chas Coffee Cart and its caretaker, Steve, the Mod Pod provides a welcome space for students to spread out their work, socialize between readings, take a quick cat nap, and put the final touches on papers and projects. However, with the renovations of Tutt Library underway, it looks as if the Mod Pod’s temporary status has been solidified. Once Tutt reopens next fall, the Writing Center, QRC, and Coffee Cart will make their way back to the upper floors of the new and improved library. Nevertheless, what began as a temporary space has preemptively adopted the new culture of Tutt 2.0: collaboration.

Attributing it to the larger layout, Kat Bell, Associate Director of the Writing Center, said the Mod Pod has triggered an increase in student collaboration across the board. “From 9 a.m. until late in the evening I see students working on papers together and planning projects,” said Bell. “I think the Mod Pod has created an atmosphere that promotes group work.” With a semicovered porch in front and windows on all four walls, the Mod Pod invites much more natural light than the previous Colket Center or second floor of Tutt. The intermingled couches also provide relief from the more traditional chairs and tables, inviting students to literally sit back and relax.

As far as design goes, the Mod Pod’s layout largely mirrors the “openconcept” design of the new Tutt Library. Driven by the mentality of openness and sharing, both the Mod Pod and the library were developed to facilitate the spread of ideas between students and staff. “The Mod Pod represents, in many ways, what we can expect in the new library—collaborative, flexible spaces that are open, light, and airy, with access to academic support nearby,” said Colket Center Director and Team Tutt Coordinator, Traci Freeman. While the Mod Pod’s simple, one-story layout offers limited seating, the Tutt Team is encouraged by how many students have embraced the space, and hope the new library design will be equally as welcomed next fall.

“The success of the Mod Pod as a study space has led me to believe that we are on the right track with our design for the new building,” said Freeman. “I know that students love the Mod Pod, but I really think they are going to love the library next year.” Standing four stories tall, the new Tutt Library will nearly double the seating of its predecessor—offering extensive group spaces inside and out, an expanded Colket Writing Center and QRC area, and a café on the top floor. Furthermore, while the Writing Center and QRC will remain separate, the new design will offer the option for them to collaborate, allowing students working in interdisciplinary courses to take advantage of both student help centers.

So, while having less physical books in the library seems counterintuitive, the structure and design will, ultimately, facilitate more contemporary research and learning—driven by group dynamics, technology, collaboration, and the sharing of ideas.

As for the Mod Pod, it is only a temporary solution. CC obtained the building permit for only a year, and plans to sell the Mod Pod before Tutt reopens this coming August. Luckily, the new collaborative culture is not limited to the physical layout of the Mod Pod, and will recommence and expand in the library next fall. We can only hope the new structure is large enough to contain the thriving minds of its students.

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