I'm new, I'm lost, where do I go?

Originally published on August 26, 2011 in The Eastern Echo

For many new students, finding their way around campus can be a sanity-eroding experience. A task that will only be made more difficult this fall with all of the construction and building closures happening around campus. It’s so confusing that even long-time students are having difficulty navigating around all of the mess.

“After returning from a year teaching English in Korea, my knowledge of campus isn’t the most current,” third year Japanese language major Shannon Barry said. “I had difficulty trying to get to career services. It’s kind of vague where those offices are when its smack dab in the construction area.”

Instead of letting you wander around trying desperately to decipher that university provided map without any context, I’m going to help you out. No, I’m not going to be your personal campus guide; I have my own classes after all. But I will give you all the essential info you will need to find your way around campus for the next few months.

The first thing you need to know is that the Student Center is your best friend. It is located on the western edge of the main campus off of Oakwood between Huron River and Washtenaw. There you will find all of the information you need to survive on campus. Other than Pierce Hall, there is no other building on campus that hosts more essential services.

On the ground floor of the Student Center, you will find the campus book store, which houses the campus computer store and postage kiosk, Chase Bank (and ATM), the Eagle Card office, campus ticket office and a ton of eateries.

The second floor is where you will find the Service EMU desk, which serves as a satellite office for most of the services found at Pierce Hall. The second floor is also home to the art gallery, information desk, one of the rare Eagle One Card ATMs, admissions welcome center, Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards and the students with disabilities office.

The third floor mainly consists of the Center for Student involvement. It sounds stuffy, but this is where you go if you want to know about joining groups and student organizations.

There you will find Campus Life, the LGBT Resource Center, Greek Life, Diversity and Community Involvement, Student Government, Multicultural Affairs and the Women’s Center.

Keep in mind that if you’re coming to the Student Center from the northern part of campus, near Halle Library or McKenney Hall, you will have to detour over to Oakwood or around the Rec IM due to construction. It’s a shorter walk down Oakwood, unless you are closer to Pray-Harrold.

Speaking of Pray-Harrold, you might have noticed, if you are taking some gen eds or classes within the English department, that your schedule has you situated in that building. This might come as a shock to many returning students because it was previously announced that Pray-Harrold would not open for students until 2012, but this is not an error.

Although Pray-Harrold is opening, there might still be a bit of construction happening on the lower floors. If so, you will want to avoid the doors facing Quirk because they will probably be inaccessible.

Pierce Hall is a place that you might not visit often but you should be aware of it. If you’re new to campus you probably had quite a few visits there over the past few months. If you’re a veteran student, you might not have taken a visit in years, but you might want to.

Pierce Hall is home to all of the essential offices you need to be a student at EMU.

Admissions, financial aid, registration and student accounting all call Pierce Hall home.

You might not need it at the beginning of the semester, but if you find yourself in need of non-emergency medical attention, Snow health is here to help you. It’s located in the middle of campus near Pray-Harrold and the Rec-IM.

Snow Health Center is a full service medical facility that can help you just as well as any other health clinic. If you’ve got a cough, need refill your birth control or would like to check out mental health services, you can find help there. It is also one of the places on campus that offers free condoms, if the need arrives.

If you’re hungry on campus, you have a ton of options. The bottom floor of the Halle Library is home to an Eagle Café. The Student Center’s ground floor is home to Wendy’s, Salsa Grille, Market Bistro and Subway. Then you have the Dining Commons, which is situated in the square formed by Buell, Downing, Best and Wise residence halls.

There is a small shop in the rear of McKenney Hall’s second floor. If you’re near the Towers (Pittman, Hill, & Hoyt Halls ), Crossroads Market Place has restaurants for cooked food as well as a store set up for groceries.

Finally, if you’re hungry late night, the Quick Fixx is open under the First Year Center (Sellers, Walton, Phelps, & Putnam Hall).

If you are a commuter you’re probably familiar with the daily traffic congestion at the corner of Oakwood and Washtenaw. I am happy to report that that headache might be alleviated in the future.

Over the summer, the corner was revamped to add a dedicated turn lane and the “no turn on red” sign has been removed. It might seem like a small change but it should help a great deal.

The traffic and parking lot jam will also be reduced now that the parking lot at Rynearson stadium is available for commuter parking. The Ann Arbor Transportation Authority has added a second campus shuttle that will service the lot. The new “West Campus Shuttle” is route 34 and is free for everyone. It will begin service, along with the EMU shuttle route 33, on

August 31st.

Another change returning students might notice is the university finally added street signs and informational direction signs all over campus. This will help students, new and old, to navigate around.

No matter what you do, it’s likely you’ll end up lost at least once. That’s the time where you break the fourth wall and ask someone to point you in the right direction. At least now you’ll know what you’re looking for when the time comes.