At 989 acres – equivalent to a little over 1.5 square miles – UCSB’s campus is, at the outset of everyone’s college career, an intimidating landscape. After becoming familiar with the Davidson Library, the UCen and the Arbor, many believe their campus explorations are over. As their college years progress, many find that campus seems to shrink. The truth is, campus has scores of secret nooks students tend to overlook.
It’s no secret Nicoletti’s serves bright mornings to hundreds of sleepy students. But away from the UCen, there are four other Nic’s that offer a basic drink menu. Look for these cute coffee carts at the Arbor, Buchanan Hall, the Humanities and Social Sciences Building and Harold Frank Hall.
After downing several espresso shots, I typically find myself trying to start, finish and print assignments. An alternative to the library, the new Student Resource Building offers a brand-new PC lab, complete with the option of charging all printing to your BARC account. Why is this an advantage? Because unlike the library’s copy card system, you don’t have to spend your hard-earned money on printing. Instead, charge your BARC account, and rest assured that your parents will be paying your printing fees. Hey, maybe if your print enough pages, they’ll even get you your own printer! The Student Resource Building closes at midnight from Monday to Thursday and at 6 p.m. on Friday, and isn’t open on the weekends. If these hours don’t fit your needs, trek over to Phelps Hall, where you will find both a Mac lab as well as a PC lab, with the same BARC-charging printer option.
Staying connected on campus proves to be much easier than many realize. If all you’re looking to do is check your U-Mail, and don’t want to wait for a computer to open up, visit the built-in computers on the UCen’s top floor. Kerr Hall’s outdoor TV monitors, which are always tuned to CNN, act as a quick fix for any news junkie. Alternatively, those looking to disconnect should head to Davidson Library’s Quiet Study Room. This dead-silent room, found at the back left of the second floor, does not allow talking, eating, typing, cell-phones, and as I sleepily found, snoring.
Subsequent to some hard studying, take a trip to the newer, lesser-known combination, Courtyard Cafe and Rice Garden, located under the new parking garage behind Engineering II. Offering everything from breakfast to deli sandwiches to Chinese barbeque, this overlooked nook offers a nice, reasonably priced alternative to typical UCen dining. Look out for the elderly, visiting Kavli Institute scientists, for whom this dining place was built. You can spot them wearing white lab-coats stained with mustard and soy sauce.
For our of-age readers, a hot plate of fried rice will inevitably lead to a mid-afternoon happy hour. If you’re strapped for cash and still looking for a little fun, visit the Hub’s newly installed beer garden. A cup of Bud Light at the Study Hall, for example, will cost three or four dollars. With domestic beer costing only $2.50 a cup, or $8.25 a pitcher (imports are a little more expensive), Chilitos offers a cheaper on-campus alternative to the typically drunken, off-campus Gaucho antics.
Sleepy? After so much time spent studying and drinking, you must be. Forego the couches in the UCen for the courtyard lawn between South Hall and Girvetz. Quiet and shady, a nap in a centralized campus location could be all you need to revitalize both your tired mind and hardworking liver. Not in the mood for a nap, but still looking to relax? Appreciate the greenery by heading out towards the lagoon’s highland. It’s admittedly steep, but is well worth the climb. With its magic qualities, even UCSB alum, Jack Johnson, showed his appreciation. What many have so lovingly dubbed “the smoking tree” is showcased on the cover of his album “In Between Dreams.”
Of course, campus encompasses much more than can be listed in a single column. With new buildings popping up at every turn of the head, campus has continued to grow at a ridiculous rate. It’s natural that this growth leads to a greater number of secret nooks for everyone to explore. Don’t dismiss your campus, dear readers! Just take a left turn and see where it takes you.