|The walk from the bus stop. Very inviting. It wasn't actually cloudy that day; a perpetual fog hangs over the institution. (Just kidding!) (Kinda)|
|Entering SUNY. A grandiose mixture of concrete and intimidation built for a warm climate. However, this isn't one. It's New York. Enter wind.|
|Someone was compensating...|
|This is the plaza where people hang out. At least, people were probably present here in the renderings in 1956. In reality, it repels all but the squirrels, who have the generosity of heart to make any place their home.|
After the riots, UAlbany canceled Fountain Day, sparking further protests and property damage on the uptown campus itself. Some students spray painted some columns, while a non-traditional (meaning older) student got stoned and chained himself to the fountain for a couple of days.
No word yet on how much our degrees will be worth after all this ridiculousness.
|In this shot, you can see the sheer size of the |
|This landscaping isn't really helping.|
|Students!! OMG!!! Of course, they are avoiding their designated hang out area.|
|This trash can looks like it just wants to swallow the campus whole.|
|Every disgusting and demeaning suburban campus must have oceans of parking. Even urban campuses have too much, but you could fit the entire Saint Rose campus into one of UAlbany's parking lots.|
|You can see one of the residential towers in the background.|
|Who doesn't want to cross a hamster-cage-bedding moat to get to the sitting area? Sign me up!|
|Turns out that chain they put up to keep people out of here is super easy to step over.|
|The stairs to underneath the podium.|
|Another view of the stairs.|
|This is...interesting. Clearly they didn't want this art project to be seen by anyone, so they hid it under a stairway.|
|Okay, listen. This isn't a pedestrian perspective complaint. But if a door needs to be pulled, give it a damn handle, not a push bar. These deceptive doors just piss me off.|
At this point in my travels through the campus, I decided to go inside the Lecture Center, underneath the podium.
I've been visiting this campus since before I moved to Albany three years ago, I performed and rehearsed here after moving and this is my second semester as a student at this college. Last semester I even took a transportation planning class on the uptown campus (the classes for my major are downtown), as well as doing almost all of my essay writing here. It can be objectively stated that I've spent quite a bit of time on this campus.
And yet, I got lost trying to find the main hallway. Horribly, horribly lost. There are no pictures of that part, because I was concentrating on finding where I was going.
I was looking for the way into the tunnel. Finally, I found it:
|I barely even found it in the end. This tiny little sign is the only direction I found, after going through a maze of hallways.|
Let's go take a look a this route, and the charm it exudes. Remember, while we are here, the impressionable and still maturing minds of the young people that this campus is intended to shape.
|.....are you serious?|
|Yes, serious as can be...|
|You can get lost very easily down here. The university has kindly put out chairs for those students. We'll see vending machines later for those students making a day trip out of navigating the tunnel.|
|They've even included hills! Why, it's just like San Fransisco. If San Fransisco was a Soviet bunker.|
|Going to the Lecture Center.|
|This is no joke. We're still in the maintenance tunnel here. And there is directional signage, of the same sort that you find inside the buildings.|
|A full underground campus map even!|
Although, I suppose, with the right group of people, and some props, we could recreate that pretty adequately. But that's my point. A properly built environment does not need props or an overactive imagination to be bearable.
At the very least, students should not be expected to traverse a university campus via the maintenance tunnels with signs cautioning against moving vehicles.
|Ventilation ducts for ambiance.|
|This is disconcerting.|
|Is this where they keep the missiles?|
|I'm sure quite a bit of fine art was inspired here.|
|These tubes are for the nerve gas. In the 60s, students sometimes got out of line.|
This Google Map shows an aerial view of the campus. As you can see, there are some large areas that students can gather in, but none that are in the center of the campus. All are peripheral. Even the fountain, in which hundreds of students gather during years that Fountain Day is not canceled due to riots, is not a sufficient place to hold a protest.
|Compare the above map to another Albany campus at The College of Saint Rose. Notice the central quad at Saint Rose, surrounded by college buildings. (The two maps are are not at the same scale.)|
|Maybe these are where they keep the missiles. I bet the get them out with giant magnets.|
|Even the maintenance areas use bro language.|
|Anyone care for a snack?|
|I think it would be fun to find some nook in one of these tunnels and live there, just to see how long I could get away with it for.|
|Chain link ornamentation.|
|Can anyone direct me to Biology?|
|The sidewalk. No, really, this is where we're supposed to walk. No one ever does, of course.|
|Not that it makes much difference if we walk in the appropriate lane or not, when these things are parked there.|
|Oh my god they even have a Red Phone.|
|I considered stopping for a snack at this point, but I felt that the object of my quest, my very destiny, the Campus Center, was nearing. I pressed on.|
|Well, this looked scary. This is the chipper through which they feed the protesters.|
|Another disconcerting spot in the tunnel.|
|It just keeps going...|
|Finally, some damn street art!|
There is one final obstacle in our quest:
|If I could record smells with my iPhone, I still wouldn't. It would be cruel to do that to you.|
|This was another smelly area. This is identical to the back docks of many restaurants I've worked in, especially those that were part of much larger operations similar to UAlbany, such as the Grand Summit Hotel at Mount Snow. The difference between UAlbany and those restaurants is that these areas were not open to the public. And this one was smellier.|
|The first glimpse of a finished building.|
|This is .... ultimately disappointing. Hmmph.|
Fortunately, any time I spend on this campus is optional, and I use it mostly to work on assignments, as there is nothing visually appealing to distract me.
Later on, we'll take a walk throughout and home from the downtown campus, which is completely the opposite of this one. Graceful and stoic, it seeks to reaffirm students that they are in an academic institution worth of their hard work. It is no wonder, then, that the campus we've just seen is what produced those who destroyed a neighborhood both slowly over many years and all at once on St. Patrick's Day last year.
In the end, it comes down to this: Albany is too cold for this crap, and students deserve better no matter where they are.