Well the Spring semester came to a close and a few thousand relieved graduates crossed the stage at the end of the Roost stadium. Campus was quiet for a few weeks between sessions, but now the summer session is in swing and prospective freshmen are again wandering the campus in wide-eyed innocence. I reckon that means it’s time to resume our own Campus Tour highlighting interesting spots on campus.

Truth be told, most tours for prospective students start at the Edgar Garland Student Center. The student center was completed in 1969 and is a popular campus destination for killing time. From the outside it may look like just another plain, two-story, rectangular building. Inside, students can get their fast food fix in the food court, pick up necessities in the overpriced convenience store, buy and sell textbooks at the bookstore, and avoid studying at the small movie theater or game room. In fact, if you come to college without wheels you can find just about anything you need (or at least the essentials) without ever having to drive off campus.

In contrast to the hustle and bustle of the first floor, the quieter second floor hosts offices related to some student services and various sized meeting rooms used by clubs, study groups, and the occasional couple looking for privacy.

While all of those features are fine, most student agree that the best part about the student center has nothing to do with what’s indoors, but what isn’t. You see, deeper inside lies a huge, open courtyard with a fountain, modest shade trees, and patio furniture. Although the building walls block much hope of a breeze, the trickling  fountain offers relief from oppressive Texas heat and lulls studying students into peaceful torpor. The same can’t be said, however, during football season when fans cram shoulder-to-shoulder for raucous pep rallies and ceremonially dunk the mascot in the fountain.

Although campus legend claims that the courtyard is haunted, level-headed naysayers claim the ghostly voices are only an acoustic trick. After all, to hear anything unusual the courtyard must be near-silent–which usually means at late night when the courtyard is empty–at which time one can sometimes detect phantom conversations presumably funneled from unseen corners of the building. The “courtyard ghost” is also a popular and sometimes elaborate prank, making it even harder to know if there’s a kernel of truth behind the stories. Maybe one day it’ll all be explained.

Regardless of spooky nighttime noises, the student center is a designated “safe zone” and is open 24 hours a day.  Students who feel in danger after dark are encouraged to take shelter there and call campus security. In fact, a sign at the main entrance reminds students of the “triple s”: seek Shelter, stay in Sight, and call Security. As long as you stay alert and play your cards right, one day you’ll be one of those relieved seniors crossing the stage.

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