Spring restlessness: Pio spotlights favorite places for spring recharge

Kate Robinette

For many Whitman students, the onset of warm sunny days brings some impatience with familiar haunts and with confining, formerly cozy work spaces. Productivity decreases, irritability increases and students feel that unless they get out and enjoy the sun, their semesters will not end admirably.

Aside from tossing frisbees on Ankeny, some students spend sunny spring days barbecuing at the Glover Alston Center and digging in the Organic Garden. Photo Credit: Ethan Parrish

Taking to campus to find new spring renewal, The Pioneer has compiled the top-six spring hangout spots on campus to fit students’ top-five needs: places for recreation and for relaxation, places to study, places to be social and places to be alone.

“Here we are studying about these philosophers and writers who are all about finding unity with nature and talking about the cyclicality of life and spring as a rebirth and all that, and here I am holed up in my room writing my thesis,”   said senior Navdeep Aujla. “So I like to go do class reading on Ankeny, even if it can be a little distracting when a Frisbee comes flying past my head.”

Ankeny is really more like two- or three-in-one for hangout spots. Students enjoy the expanse for sports and more informal catch and Frisbee in smaller groups as well. The volleyball net between Ankeny and the science building is packed afternoons and weekends, as reported by students studying in Penrose Library’s “fishbowl.”

The perimeters of Ankeny on benches and under trees is where students sit, lie, chat or sleep, do homework, take advantage of the Wi-fi, make phone calls and have Skype dates.

“From the middle of Ankeny you can slightly hear both [the top-40 tennis courts’ music and Jewett Hall corner’s indie music] this year, but they don’t really clash, they more just add to the college-campus-in-spring feel,” said senior Elle de la Cruz.

Photo Credit: Ethan Parrish

Next comes the water areas around Lakum Dukum, Narnia and the Amphitheater which draw students looking for a quiet, beautiful place to appreciate nature’s response to the coming of summer. Students sit and write or paint, often alone, in these areas.

“The more colors the better, Whitman’s campus is gorgeous, they do such an awesome job with grounds-keeping and especially in the spring I really love to spend time out there, when visitors come too I always take them for walks along the creek bed that runs by Prentiss,” said senior Laura Quennoz.

And for spring’s rainy days or when free hangout time is not an option, even the library seems to be a favorite for students. Full of big windows and quiet corners looking out onto campus or at the tops of blossoming trees, Penrose draws students bored with other study spots.

“If there aren’t too many negative associations,” said Aujla. “It can be refreshing to find a window seat somewhere new in the library to make working a little more enjoyable.”

For students who have been there, done that with Ankeny and other central campus areas, there is appeal to the further reaches and lesser-known hangouts of Whitman’s campus.

The Glover Alston Center’s hominess is a refreshing change from the academic-feeling areas of campus. Its backyard, with lawn area, trees, the creek and even a large barbecue grill and cement pad, draws groups for get-togethers who don’t have kitchens or outdoor space in dorms or their off-campus apartments.

The least known while still highly-rated spring hangout spot on campus is the Organic Garden. Students who want to actually be helping out, doing physical labor to balance their mental exertion, growing food or just getting fingernails in the dirt in their recharge time are drawn by the open garden and potluck events there. Some students even just like to take walks and sit under the gazebo.

The last place students seem drawn to for its energizing effect is the roof. While The Pioneer does not condone breaking into any campus rooftops, many students find that the roofs of their off-campus houses are warm, fresh places to soak up some spring rays and breezes.

Photo Credit: Kendra Klag