The North Campus Experience
Out of the many fine alumni who have posted or visited this website over the years, I consider myself privileged to have been lucky enough to study a major, clarinet performance, that called for me to spend most of my time on North Campus. Many words have been said about the fine night life, restaurants, and other amenities available on Central Campus. This diary is not about those parts of the city. I'm talking about driving up Division for a little ways, crossing the bridge, and heading further north past Maiden Lane and experiencing the fun times to be had there.
For one thing, North Campus has trees, and snow, and snow and trees. Walking to class is like walking through beautiful parkland. There are many hills and valleys which helps make the walk more physically demanding. There are paths through the woods where frequently groundhogs, deer, squirrels, cats, and other creatures can be seen prowling around. I had a garden senior year and took pride in clearing out brush and improving the property bit by bit, even if only temporarily. One winter the trees on North Campus were completely encapsulated in ice and glittered in the sunlight like living icicles.
In the summer these same trails are great for biking and running, or during the winter if you bundle up well. I and my friends would run through the engineering campus, Northwood III and beyond, and bike up Nixon into farm country. The hills at the Huron Parkway golf course are great for sledding in the winter, and Qdoba is just a little ways further down the road. There is also the North Campus Recreational Building (NCRB) behind Bursley for anyone with an Mcard and a desire to pump iron or play raquetball.
In May the pools open at Huron Towers and Highlands, the two main apartment complexes closest to North Campus. As long as you play it cool and know some of the residents at the respective apartment complexes it is OK to swim in the pools, and the pools are well-maintained and deep. There is also a large athletics complex on Fuller Road where intramural soccer and softball are played.
When not traipsing through the woods, North Campusers love to get together for parties both tame and wild. One great way to meet people was coming together for a game of Mafia and wine before carpooling out to play laser tag and video games. I met some of my friends that way. We also took advantage of whatever DVDs or downloads were available—The Office, Dexter, 30 Rock, Family Guy—and bonded over those shows while serving up soup and sandwiches. My Nintendo 64 skills never got better than they got in college.
Not everyone is an engineer, a musician, or a visual artist. But for those Michigan students lucky enough to spend an extended period of time in North Campus, I consider the experience second to none, and I hope to see some of you “up north” soon.