Favorite Place

What is your favorite campus place?

In an effort to get past the dewy-eyed nostalgia about the old alma mater,  I am collecting short essays on favorite places on campus.  My purpose is to determine campus characteristics that are likely to survive the digital disruption now underway.

I believe some campuses will continue to be viable, but only to the extent that they provide something of irreplaceable and personal value.  Please consider sending me a brief description of a place on a campus that you value.  Why is this place worth remembering?

You can send me an email (mhaggans@umn.edu) or add your description in box below.  Thanks.

Interview about the project in the Chronicle of Higher Education


8 thoughts on “Favorite Place

  1. Florida State in the Mid ’60’s

    A small chapel was never locked, always empty, about midnight after dropping my date at her dorm. In the mid sixties, I would sit there and just think for about half an hour and then continue my walk back to my shared apartment on the edge of FLorida State University campus. There was the soda shop next to the chapel both 50 feet off campus, and the large quad with it’s shady oaks.

  2. Thank you for your participation in the SCUP Mojo on campus planning and your insights and questions during the video interview.

  3. My undergraduate Alma Mater is St. Lawrence University in the tiny town of Canton, NY. My favorite place on campus was (and still is) the campus bookstore, known as Brewer Bookstore. While I had been familiar with parts of the SLU campus before becoming a student (I have been an avid fan of Saints Hockey since I was 14 years old and attended many games prior to my admission), I had never experienced the beauty, comfort, and tradition of Brewer until many years later. My first encounter with the space was during my first official tour of campus as a junior in high school. The campus itself is incredibly beautiful and the tour ended at the bookstore. As my mother and I walked into this historic space, we were struck by the old architecture and beautiful hardwood floors. We went upstairs to the big window facing campus and sat in the comfy leather armchairs with our tasty hot beverages. As I looked out the window, I began to cry and told my mother that this was the most beautiful campus I had been to and I knew there was no other college out there for me. It was in this building that my fate as a Laurentian was sealed. The bookstore had been the original field house for the college and is the hang-out destination of choice for many students on campus. At the holiday time, the building is decked out in evergreens and music is always lightly playing in the air. The sound of the coffee machine is a comforting background noise and drinking a Mint Condition by the fireplace in the winter is the only place to be. When I think of St. Lawrence University, my first thought is always of Brewer Bookstore and the memories I have there.

  4. It has taken me a long time to come up with my favorite place on campus. I’m currently in my first full time higher ed professional position and worked at three different institutions during my two years of grad school, which was also a completely different school. I knew I wanted to comment on my undergraduate institution, and when I decided that I wrestled with the question of where my favorite place actually was. I went to Heidelberg University in Tiffin, Ohio and right now you might be asking yourself, “Where and where?” Heidelberg isn’t a largely noted school for a lot of different reasons and Tiffin certainly isn’t a famous town for even more reasons. But for four years, HU was home and I had a really great experience there.
    I wish my favorite place was the rock garden outside of Bareis Science Center or one of two chapels or the Campus Center front lawn or even Beeghly Library but my favorite place at Heidelberg was the Berg Events Council office. Located in the third floor of the Campus Center in the Student Life suite, the BEC office was prime reality. It had a big picture window that looked out over the front lawn and across Greenfield Street to the College (now University) Hall. You could see who was coming into the building and who was coming out. Most importantly it was the only place on campus that was pure student space. In the BEC office, we could do whatever we wanted, decorate it the way we wanted, and hang out whenever we wanted. The members of BEC were work horses and logged a lot of hours in that room. Big decisions about campus programming were made in that room. We danced, we sang, we cried, we planned, we studied, we ate, and we slept in that room. It was our space. It was a constant in the ebb and flow of rotating Directors and programming boards. Every piece of that office is a memory for someone, a “Remember the time…” or “Ohmygosh this one time…”
    Do I wish I could recall to my undergraduate days of peaceful reflection and long walks on autumn days around the quad? Sometimes but that’s not a true reflection of my college years. It was dancing, singing, crying, planning, studying, eating, and sleeping in the BEC office with all my friends.

  5. One of my favorite campus places was the NC State University Bell Tower. It was a place to meet before or after going “out on the town” on Hillsborough Street, and it had a distinct sense of arrival to the campus from downtown Raleigh, NC. It was close to the School of Design, where I spent much time, and near the park across the street which was a nice place to stroll.

    • Dan,
      Thanks for the comment on the Bell Tower. When I taught at NCState, the majority of students in the class wrote about the Court of North Carolina as their favorite place. If you could find the time, I would appreciate an elaboration on your observations about the Bell Tower…say about 250 words.

      I appreciate your contribution to this effort.

  6. One of my favorite places at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (I cannot narrow it down to just one) was Altgeld Hall, or “the math building.” How I arrived there in the first place, I cannot say. I was not a math major.


    I loved to study in the library there. The substantial wooden tables, the heavy wooden chairs and the row of lights running the length of the table, down the middle, put me in the frame of mind to buckle down and do my work. My memory of it is a large, dimly lit room, with the table lights providing what I needed for my studies. Even though you might be sharing the long table with many other students, you could still feel alone, appropriately isolated.

Critiques Appreciated