Built in 1910 as a gymnasium that also housed a running track and swimming pool, Sayles-Hill was transformed in 1979 into the Carleton student center. The hub of campus life, it now contains a snack bar, bookstore, game room, post office, radio station, and meeting rooms. Students often meet there to lobby for causes or even, sometimes, organize pranks.
One typical spoof occurred in 1976, when the fictitious “Joe Fabeetz” ran for the Carleton Student Senate. When another student protested that Fabeetz was imaginary, students rallied to sweep Fabeetz into office with a landslide vote. Fabeetz’s success attracted media attention from the Star Tribune and the national CBS Morning News.
Since 1976, Joe Fabeetz has kept a low profile, but he occasionally and unpredictably returns to campus to stir up drama. For example, in 1991 he successfully “drew” into a dorm room in Gridley Hall, despite the fact that Gridley was an all-women’s dorm that had been demolished twenty-four years earlier.
When the large open space is not used for meeting friends or playing games, it serves all-school events like weekend dances, blood drives, and fund-raisers.