There are lots of wonderful nooks and crannies on campus where students can go to study, hang out, enjoy the atmosphere, eat lunch or have a coffee. Students will find their favorite spots over time – maybe through trial and error. If your students have not already discovered these spots, here are five to try during the fall.
The big back table at Starbucks. It’s got a lot of room for laptops, spreading out papers, good for group project discussions, etc. Right now has a little bit of the ‘darkened alcove’ kind of feel, but they are renovating this summer and it may look a little different come fall. But it is a big, wide open table – nearly always occupied. But I bet if your students hit the ZSR Library early in the day, they might be able to grab it. It’s a little close to the end of the bar where the baristas put the drinks once they are made, and it is near the exit of ZSR closest to Tribble, so for some it may be distracting to have constant sound and movement. But if you don’t mind that (or can tune it out), enjoy all the table space.
The rocking chairs on the Mag Patio. If you are the kind of person that wants to take your shoes off, kick your feet up on the rail, and read a book, this is an excellent spot for that. It is especially pretty in the fall when the leaves have all changed colors. You can see a great view straight to downtown. This tends not to be a particularly loud area, unless there is something going on down on the Mag (Manchester) Quad. The nearby umbrella tables are also a wonderful spot for having lunch.
Davis Field swings. There are a few swings on the big trees on Davis Field. On the weekend you might see local families with young children exploring campus and swinging on the swings. In the fall you can see the Spirit of the Old Gold and Black marching band practice on the lower field, and on the weekends the field gets used for some high-spirited football games (since it is already marked with the yard lines). The swings are a moment of whimsy and students can take a few minutes and swing like a kid again.
The Rare Books Room. Do your students know that there is a Rare Books Room in the ZSR? It has the University’s collection of old and rare books as well as other archival items. They can go in and browse what is there, or ask one of the librarians to access some of the items in the cabinets. At minimum, everyone should go in there and have a look around. There are some exceptional things to be seen.
The cafe tables on the Quad. These tables provide a nice spot for impromptu dining al fresco, having a cup of coffee, or just sitting for a few peaceful minutes and watching the world walk by. Students can take board games off the nearby carts and play a vigorous round of Connect Four with a friend, etc. My favorite time for the cafe tables is the spring, when all the pink flower petals are falling off the trees and it looks like pink snow beneath them.
— by Betsy Chapman