Monday, October 11, 2004

Today I actually left the house and went somewhere! I went over to the university and spent some time there doing a few things. It was nice to get back there, as always. I may have graduated but I feel like I will always belong on campus.

When I left it was all cloudy and cold, and of course five minutes into the bus ride it starts to warm up and the clouds go away. Darn Fall weather! When I got down to campus, I got myself some cash for the day, browsed a little in the campus bookstore, and then headed for lunch. I ate at a little cafe/restaurant a block away from campus called The Glenwood. It's a popular student hangout, and this was actually my first time eating there. It was very busy, very loud, and very chaotic but the service was awesome.

I ordered a "Willamette Burger" with cheddar and bacon, sided with some semi-mashed homefried potatoes, and a root beer and water to drink. I sat at my little table and drank and ate while I read the school newspaper. My stomach wasn't quite ready for that much rich food, so I only ate half the burger and some of the potatoes. It was still good though, and I was very happy with my server. She took good care of my needs even though she was busy with many other customers.

After that, I went to the local used bookstore. THOUSANDS of affordable used books on every subject imaginable await, and I spent a good deal of time browsing. I bought "The Journals of Lewis and Clark," which I had been thinking of buying but I never got around to buying it until now. After quite a few minutes looking through the stacks of U.S. history books, I finally found some copies and got a very affordable, very attractive copy.

I also purchased "Rock of Ages: The Rolling Stone History of Rock & Roll." It's a pretty thick book, and once again I got an affordable copy, under $10. The third and final book purchase of the day was a book for a friend of mine as a Halloween gift. I'm sure she will enjoy it. I'm not saying what I bought her here so as not to ruin the surprise.

After all that book buying, I left with a semi-heavy black bag with which to carry these books, and headed to the university campus itself. I took a potty break in the new business center, which the school was building during my last two years there. I saw it go from a hole in the ground to a shiny new finished building, but it did not officially open until after I graduated. It's very nice and professional-looking, more like an office building than a school classroom building. There's even a cafe in the lobby! There are big glass windows everywhere, so the whole building has a very open feel to it. I really wish I had been able to take a class there when I was going to school at the university!

I left that building from the rear entrance, coming out to a part of campus that I hadn't really seen much since the new building was under construction. Everything was fenced off back then, so now it's all open. As I was walking out, I saw that the school is doing construction on the oldest building on campus! There's scaffolding on half of the building, and it's really odd to see it that way now.

I walked from there toward the "center of campus" by the student union. The university has redone that area too. It used to be just a street intersecting the campus; now it is more like a plaza with bricks and flower beds. I believe traffic has been newly prohibited (non-official traffic anyhow) from driving through that intersection, so the biggest change is the ability of students to FREELY move from the student union to the academic heart of campus! No more waiting for cars to pass by. There are also newly-erected posts for putting up flyers and announcements and that sort of thing.

Still under construction at the "heart of campus" is a new kiosk/row of benches that replaces the old wooden kiosk that has been at that location forever. Overall, the changes aren't quite as impressive as I had been lead to believe, but they are still quite noticable. The university really seems to be making the campus more pedestrian-friendly. I suppose that's a good thing now that the campus population is up to 20,000, an increase of a few thousand from my freshman year.

Campus was bustling and busy with lots of students out and about. Speaking of out, there was what I presume to be a Gay pride celebration taking place in the student union ampitheatre. Music was played, voters were registered, information was given. I bought a soda in the student union food store, drank some of it, and then headed to the bus station to go on my way home.

I really do notice that there seems to be more students on campus than in years before. The sidewalks are always a bit busier, and there's just more people around in general. The school is undergoing a growth period, and it warms my heart to see it happen.

So, that was my day. I had a great time, enjoyed the weather, and enjoyed being back at the place where I spent four good years of my life. I'll always feel a part of campus, no matter how many years pass.

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