Friday, October 14, 2011


A few weekends ago I decided to pay a visit to the campus of one of my former colleges, Western Oregon University. This is where I attended school from 2001-2003, earned my Bachelor of Science degree in Humanities, and had a lot of crazy times. I wasn't into the party scene, but my roommate and I did watch a lot of cable TV, rent numerous VHS tapes from the local mom & pop video store, and make many trips to Wal-Mart. So, you know, crazy times.

Even though the campus is only about an hour and a half away from where I currently live, I've only been back twice since 2003. Which is lame of me, because there are many reasons to visit, not the least of which is the food court. But more on that later.

I now present to you a pictorial account of my recent visit to WOU, home of the Wolves.

WOU has a fun history! It has gone through more name changes over the years than Prince: Monmouth University, Oregon Normal School, Oregon College of Education, and Western Oregon State College are its previous monikers. Fun fact: Beverly Cleary's friend went here!

Ah, Main Street. Home to classrooms and bricky buildings. A lovely place.

This is the Administration Building. Once, during my first year, I joined some of my professors and fellow students in a "march" where we... well, marched... outside this building, chanting things about fairness and equality. And we got to wear buttons. It was exciting! But mostly it scored me points with my profs. Maybe it was my imagination, but they were nicer to me after that. I still have the buttons somewhere.

Okay, so there's this tree. And it's a big deal around there because it's the tallest of trees, and possibly the oldest. At Christmas time, it has lights all over it and they have a tree lighting ceremony and it is very special. But this tree isn't perfect. That's because the top's gone. It was struck by lightning. How cool is that? So now, no point. It is the Mt. St. Helens of trees.

This is Campbell Hall. Allow me to tell you about Campbell Hall, though not about that blue thing in front because I have no idea what that is. No, but about the building. It used to have a bell tower on top, but then, during the Columbus Day Storm of 1962, it fell down.

Exclamation point!

When it fell, two things were destroyed. One, the bell tower. Duh. So they were like woe, no bell tower, BUT we miss the bells so let's build a bell-tower-ish thing on top of the building next door and play RECORDED BELL SOUNDS!

See that brown thing on top of that other building? That's a bell tower, but I'll be darned if there's an actual bell in it. But that didn't stop us from being treated to bell chiming on the hour and olde tyme music three times a day.

The other thing that was destroyed in the Storm was the left side of Campbell Hall. I guess it was totaled. So they walled/bricked it off, but you can see where the doors used to be.

Or, you know, there's probably some other reason why it's like that. I'm no architect. All I know is that door-looking thing creeps me out.

Speaking of creepy...

This is Todd Hall, named after Jessica Todd. Beverly Cleary's friend and her classmates used to call it Jessica Todd Hell. Apparently nobody liked Jessica Todd. Which may be why some say the building is haunted. By HER, naturally.

Now, I don't know if it's true, but I do have to say there's something about the exterior...

...that strongly suggests "Nefarious after-hours doings." It is definitely the creepiest-looking building on campus.

This is the University Center, home to the bookstore, dining establishments, a mini-mart, a coffee place, offices, computer labs, and a "game" room, which, when I went there, had a foosball table and video games that ate your quarters. It's actually one of my favorite places on campus (not counting the food court). I can spend hours in the bookstore. It's probably a good thing it was closed when I was last there, or else I might've spent a pretty penny, and me without my 10%-Discount Alumni Card!

Now heading toward the dorms. A mere ten years ago, there were just 5 dorm buildings and now there are eight, I think. Mine was Gentle Hall, and I was in room 121.

Yep, there it is. Top floor on the right. That was "home" for two years, and it kind of weirds me out that other people dwell in it now. Yeah, I'm weird and possessive, what?

This is the Gentle Hall lounge. The RA's were always trying to get us "involved." So there were parties sometimes. Getting-to-know you extravaganzas. I remember everyone gathered to watch Friends when Rachel had her baby. I also carved a pumpkin in that room, made a decoupage box, and celebrated Mardi Gras for about an hour before returning to my dorm room to watch a Cosby Show marathon on TV.

Well, I promised I'd talk about it, and here it is...

 The food court. Valsetz. It was actually attached to Gentle Hall via a series of walkways. If you lived in the dorms, you could have a food card which was like a debit card and it meant that whenever you were hungry, all you needed was that card, and you could get anything you wanted. They had a soda fountain, a bagel station, a bakery, a pizza place, a salad bar, a sandwich bar, a grill, a waffle stand, and oh so much more. In the mornings you could get an omelet for a dollar; in the evenings you could get a Boca Burger and fries for less than $2. Once a month, they served lasagna, and it was so delicious we'd often buy 2 or 3 pieces and keep the leftovers in the fridge (for all the good it did; we still had them devoured in a days' time.)

And yeah, one time I did get food poisoning from their lettuce, but no hard feelings.

Valsetz was also the place where the dorm association would sometimes sponsor Bingo nights. My roommate and I were unusually adept at winning prizes. I actually won a 23" TV, a serious upgrade from the 13" one we'd been using. I still feel kind of bad I didn't act more excited when I won, like jump up and down and scream, but that isn't like me. I hope they realize I was, indeed, grateful. A big TV made watching Gerard Butler movies even better!

Another place to get snacks on campus was this little mini mart inside the Werner Center. We called it either the Wolf Store or the Candy Store. I am only slightly ashamed to say that candy was most often purchased here, though a few Icees and Jones Sodas were procured as well. The Food Court was awesome for everything except having candy. So we got it here. And we got it often. It's a wonder we still have all our teeth.

This is the library, and it is fantastic. It opened right before I started at WOU. It has three floors, and in my quest for a quiet corner, I would often make my way up to the second or third floor to find a comfy chair on which to study. One day, I accidentally stumbled upon a section full of children's books. I love children's books! It was like my own personal Room of Requirement. So whenever I wasn't studying or involved in various shenanigans, I may have been found curled up on a cushy chair, nibbling Skittles and reading Judy Blume.

And now this tour must come to an end. I want to visit again soon -- if anyone wants to go with me, I'm taking applications. Kidding. Sort of.

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