Location: Frary Dining Hall is located at the North side of Pomona College’s campus close to Claremont Mckenna College. It is located near the clock tower and next to the residential area of Pomona students.
About the Soundscape: On the premise that food is one of the basic necessities for human life, Frary Dining Hall is a critical component of the 5C ecosystem. Considering that a majority of the students at our small consortium is on a meal plan, Frary’s soundscape says much about the atmosphere of the 5Cs. Frary’s high ceilings, wooden interior, and long tables make it a dining hall experience unique at the colleges. It’s also worthy to note that this dining hall has a large amount of students who are doing work and eating alone compared to others, perhaps the soundscape of the environment can explain this.
When listening to the soundscape of this dining hall, the keynote sounds are the people chattering, the lights and cooling system rumbling, and the sound of metal utensils and plates hitting each other. These sounds are constant in Frary. These noises although so loud, become the background of the dining hall; everyone is accustomed to it being this noisy. When any one of these keynote sounds, especially the people chattering, is not present, I experience a very uncomfortable sensation. This is because people are typically accustomed to hearing these keynote noises when they enter Frary. These keynote noises can be compared to the coffeehouse chatter that many people find relaxing to listen to which might explain why people enjoy studying here. Furthermore, the indistinguishable nature of many people’s conversations occurring simultaneously even creates a false sense hood of staying hidden.
The signal sounds include occasional uproars of laughter/ screams and chairs moving. The soundmarks of Frary are when certain items fall to the ground. This produces a loud echoing noise that permeates the entire dining hall. This sound is very specific to the dining hall due to its design. Whenever anyone dropped anything, especially a cup, the noise disperses so widely in the hall that everyone’s head turns to observe it. Combined, the soundmarks and signal sounds keep those who are working awake and alert The echo produced in the room also contributes to the lively atmosphere within the dining hall.