The Foundations of the Exchange

As many people in or near Alfred University know, the artistic community has—quite literally—covered campus. From the Main Street entrance to the Powell dining areas, birdbox-esque kiosks popped up, seemingly overnight.

The project was based in the Foundations classes, with everyone getting split into groups. The task? Create a kiosk with the purpose of an exchange in mind. These could range from music recommendations, to stickers, to photos, to nature.

“My kiosk is up at Hairpin under the map. It’s a nature exchange [so that] while you’re up there, you can find something interesting on the ground, whether it’s something or nature or trash left by someone else that you think is cool,” first year Sarah Fraley said. “And then you are free to take something from the kiosk that someone else has put in if you choose. I go up and check and document for two weeks, and then we have to take them down.”

There was a map created to find the several kiosks, however for many people on campus, they were found simply by exploring the campus—or looking outside your dorm room window, which was the case for many of the Brick’s residents. One morning, looking out across the lawn would find a blue hanging kiosk.

“Our kiosk is like a personal exchange. We each put something in it every day like a letter, candy, a book, a drawing, to give to the other sort of as a way of getting to know each other. There’s a notebook in there that we log our exchanges in,” said first year Piper Lilley. “I’m not sure how many people interacted with it, it was mostly a thing just between me and my [group] partner. It was fun to be able to basically just give each other gifts for, like, two weeks.”

Asking her about whether she would do this project again, Piper was enthusiastic.

“I would definitely do this again! I’ve been wanting to do one of those kiosk things where people borrow books like the one in town, and I might do that back home.”

These kiosks weren’t all located within the central sections of campus, however, with some on the borders. Anyone who visited the tunnels by the Brick would have seen a small, multi-colored box with a wood treble clef. While a little out of the way, it looked at home amongst the graffiti.

“My group consisted of me, Kimberly Rauber, and Franky Pecoraro-Frayre. Our exchange idea was based on music and wanting to get people to add their favorite songs to our Spotify playlist “The Sounds of Alfred,” which we wanted to play next semester on the Alfred radio. We even had a little composition book in the kiosk to have people write down their favorite lyrics,” Kaz Taggart, a first year, said. “We got a lot more written lyrics than added music which is a-ok, but the Spotify playlist is one hour and five minutes long!”

On whether they would be interested in doing something similar again, Kaz thought about what they would do differently.

“I liked this project and would definitely do it again. But perhaps if I did it alone, I’d choose a more visited location.”

Overall, the kiosks brought a new life to campus. For the 2020-2021 school year, the campus was low energy and a blank canvas. For the final weeks of this year, seeing these brightly colored kiosks created a buzz on campus as to their purpose, how long they would be up, and who was going to interact with it. While, sadly, the kiosks will be taken down soon, there is always hope that next year will bring just as much campus-wide fun.

For those interested in checking out the “Sounds of Alfred” playlist on Spotify, the link is below.

By Sam Sage


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