By Emma Livingston, Co-editor
Fall classes have started and our beautiful Thunderbird campus in Glendale, Arizona, has come alive again with students rushing to and from class, enjoying leisurely lunches and chats with their colleagues outside the Commons and shouting to each other from the balcony of A Dorm to the balcony of B Dorm (the two resident halls that now house the entire on-campus student population).
I am glad to be back, not just because I am glad to see all my friends again, but also because I am glad to see this campus again. Thunderbird students are fortunate to be able to meet people from around the world and practice developing a global mindset in this relaxed and beautiful environment.
Here are a few of my favorite places on campus, listed in no particular order:
Jacuzzi Fountain Outside Snell
Surrounded by flowers visited by hummingbirds, partially shaded even in the middle of the day, graced by this fountain reminding you that all is not dry in the desert, this beautiful spot is a place to relax in between classes (or to quickly finish a reading you need to do for your next class). This spot reminds me of the micro-storm that blew through campus last September when a couple of friends and I explored the damage. We found this fountain overflowing from the heavy rain and so we splashed in the water. That was still the only time I entered this fountain, but it should not be the last.
I’m so grateful to have this pool sandwiched in between the A and B Dorms. During the summer months and well into September, the water is such a relief from the merciless sun and the hot desert nights. The pool offers equal hospitality to individual exercisers splashing back and forth through the water, small groups of students chatting under the stars, and rowdy parties that invariably get shut down at midnight when security rolls through. Plus, the pool hosts one of my favorite Thunderbird traditions: tossing the birthday boy or girl into the water to celebrate.
The Poolroom at the Pub
During pub night, you have a couple options: you can stand in the middle of a shouting crowd either inside the pub or on the patio, or you can enter the more intimate atmosphere of the poolroom. Here, intense (or not so intense) games of pool are serenaded by groups of students singing Bollywood music, Chinese love songs or ballads from the 80s on the karaoke machine. This room is also special to me as the site of last year’s First Annual Once in a Lifetime Great Debate, which pitted two of the best minds in our class against one another with a series of absurd questions.
Coleman Lounge Near East Dorm
Coleman Lounge has the benefit of being on the forgotten side of campus, so basically what happens in Coleman, stays in Coleman. I have so many good memories of this place: the piano where one Thunderbird student used to play for hours every day. A random dance party, complete with strobe lights, that sprang up one evening. A fascinating conversation about marriage customs around the world with friends representing seven different countries. And a drunken, candlelit goodbye party before I left for Prague.
West Dorm Common Area
West Dorm was always the most communal of the dorms, since the apartments face each other, forming a kind of courtyard. This was the location of the best parties on campus last year, with both first and second year students getting together for BBQs and dance parties. I hope we can continue the tradition of West Dorm parties, despite the unpopular decision by the administration to shut this dorm down.
Lecture Hall 53
Honestly, I hate this place: It has no windows, terrible lighting, and baffling acoustics that make it easy to hear someone whispering to their friend in the back of the class, but almost impossible to hear the professor. However, this room has shaped my Thunderbird experience more than any other place on campus. It is where my batch had every single one of our core classes: over 90 people filling up every seat in this large room. It is where we got to know each others’ personalities and points of view and where we watched each other deliver hundreds of presentations in ever shifting groups. LH 53, you are a terrible place, but a place that I call home.
I love this campus, not just for its physical appearance, but for the memories I have at each particular location. My advice for the new batch of T-Birds is to spend even more time making memories with your classmates on this campus than you do on the actual classwork itself. These memories are what we will truly value when we leave this little paradise and go off into the “real world.”
What’s your favorite spot on campus? Leave a comment and let us know.