This Is Not a Quiet Lab

The motto for Oberlin’s Paul and Edith Cooper International Learning Center is “This is Not a Quiet Lab.” One can attribute that in part to cockatiels Iago, Beatrice, and Flaubert, who have made the center their home in Peters Hall for about three years. The trio spends time by their cage in the windows, where they eat millet and Goldfish crackers. They also like to rest on computers and on the heads or shoulders of regulars.

Why birds in a world languages lab? Staff members want the center to be a welcoming, interesting place for learners and speakers of French, Russian, Japanese, Spanish and other world languages. The birds provide background noise so patrons feel more comfortable speaking into what would otherwise be a quiet room.

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Photograph by Jee Seung Yun '13