Colors of Campus

A college campus is a temperamental place. People come and go in waves between classes and like waves between semester breaks. The quad by my dorm is one day empty, energy-less; the next day it’s lively with poets, preachers, and performers. Buildings look sad without people, but pine trees and blue skies always looks good. The peaks in the background are still white, keeping silent watch over all. Busses roar by every few minutes, dispatching dozens of people to and from points abroad in the little world that is the campus. The pedway at a weekday 9 am is wall to wall with people and too tight to ride a bike, then on weekends empty except for the occasional longboarder and bike commuter.

It is the Union that is most moody of all. On any given day there is a line of flea market booths, a DJ and a preacher, poets performing in the open-air auditorium, an impromptu band playing somewhere in there, and people hanging over walls chatting, laying on the grass, dining alfresco, idling the day away or spending it in the sand volleyball court. The lines at food stands are long and cheery, the food hot and fresh. Rows of bikes glitter in the sun. Black bikes, white bikes, yellow bikes, city bikes, beach bikes, and mountain bikes. Bikes with horns, bikes with baskets, and bikes with tin can tails. Bikes with nothing and bikes with a little bit of everything and even some with a lot of everything. The absences of these colors make the Union the dreariest of places during Spring Break or Christmas vacation.

The quad by the Business Building by day is populated with Frisbee throwers and intellectuals with guitars, at night by infrequent hookah groups. The hookahs mainly hang out on the pedway by Tinsley, sending sweet-smelling clouds of smoke and lies into the night air. At night the sprinklers come on and there’s often a few s’mores on the grill. Ultimate happens under the lights, basketball and tennis is in full swing. If I am motivated I go for a night run past the cemeteries that ring the campus. Then it’s over to the library to ponder math or a research paper until it closes. In a few hours the cycle repeats…