Written by summer orientation assistant Morgana Smith 08F
There are few things more beautiful to me than Hampshire College in the autumn; our somewhat stark-looking, late-60s buildings are offset by fiery leaves and twining ivy, and it’s just cool enough to wear a light sweater and sip tea outside. This is a perfect time to start the school year, and the perfect time to allow new students to discover some of my personal favorite spots on campus.
The Hampshire Tree: Set back in a field, you can only get to this tree by a small jaunt along a wooded path, and then a subsequent scuttle through felled rows of corn. I was taken here my first year by an older student, but then found myself coming back at times when I needed to be alone with my thoughts. I never had an easy time navigating the Hampshire woods, so the Tree remained my own little slice of nature that was relatively quick to find.
The Farm: In October, there is the annual Fall Farm Fest, where the folks who work down at the farm press apples into cider, sell kettle corn and our own Hampshire honey, host live music (performed by Hampshire students), and bring out some of the animals – llamas, sheep, cows, chickens. But outside of the festivities, the Farm is another wonderful place to walk around at any time of year, and a great place to take visiting guests! The llama is particularly fun to hang out with.
The Goodread Library: This is a little gem of a place that I didn’t discover until much later in my career as a student – a library based entirely on the honor system (take a book, read it, bring it back for someone else) and located in the middle of Greenwich Donut 1. Though there is some foot traffic as people go to and from their mods, this is a relatively quiet space, ideal for getting some writing or reading done. Besides, it’s lots of fun to browse through the titles and find books you never knew existed! (By the way, the bookshelves in the Merrill and Dakin Living Rooms work on the same system – there are lots of books to be found on this campus!)
The Greenwich Swing: Not too far from the Goodread is an unassuming swing. It’s another lovely place to sit and contemplate or do some reading (apparently, I led an extremely introspective life as a student). It’s probably worth mentioning that there’s a Dakin Swing, as well as a few others around campus.
The Arts Barn: While it’s easily not the most beautiful building on campus, the Arts Barn is very much a second home to me. Since many of my classes after first year were arts-related and my advisor was a sculpture professor, I spent a lot of time here. I even had a studio during my Div III! Whenever I come back, I know it’s a place where I’m welcome and where there will be people I know. It’s a lot of fun to walk through and see what students are working on, and I always recommend that folks take an art class at some point, even if that’s not what they’re interested in studying. In my experience, our art classes are engaging and fun, and students are never made to feel as though they need to live up to some artistic ideal. Right outside the Arts Barn is the Graffiti Wall, which is constantly changing as students create art pieces on top of each other in perpetuity.
To be honest, there are very few spots on campus I don’t like, but I could talk about Hampshire all day. I know that some of you will find these places and love them as well, but I also hope that you find other places that are meaningful to you, places where you can study, relax, hang out with friends, have a meal, create something, or just get lost in thought.
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