A part of the culture I loved during my time as an undergrad at the University of Richmond was the way local families were always on campus — for food or for strolling the sidewalks and the loop around the lake. The memory of that makes me wonder how many of us non-students are enjoying the Queens University of Charlotte campus in that way. The university is nestled in the manicured-fairy-woodland-esque atmosphere of Myers Park and has more to offer non-students than first meets the eye.
What to look for:
(1) Outdoor art
There’s no cohesiveness with the art you stumble upon, and that makes it pop. I passed “Spheres” by Virginia Scotchie in the Ann Tarwater Courtyard, as well as “Triple Arc I” by James Rosati in front of Jernigan Hall.
(2) The Coffee House
Caffeine addicts, you can pop into the Coffee House on the side of the Everett Library for a dose of Starbucks Coffee (from iced lattes to cappuccinos). They also carry pastries, teas, smoothies and milkshakes. Dibs on a patio seat.
Summer hours vary.
(3) The Everett Library
A librarian here told me that community members are welcome to use the space here as they please — whether that means reading books or getting work done. But they can’t access the university database or check books out. (Although, if you join the Friends of the Library, you do get the privilege to check out books.)
(4) Miscellaneous eye-catchers
Like this Crowder Green Wall on the exterior of Rogers Hall. The wall is an experiment to discover “which non-invasive species thrive in these growing conditions,” according to the sign.
Then there is this unlabeled piece of work in the student gallery just inside the doors of Watkins Hall, pictured below. (Beer shrine?)
(5) Student life
Seriously. Nothing made me feel more sweetly nostalgic than walking around and catching sight of fresh-faced students wearing lanyards and walking to an academic building, and a group of students outside a residence hall hollering over what I think was a game of four-square. It’s a refreshing reminder of what life was like before this #adulting nonsense.
(6) Food options
Lisa Noakes, director of communications at Queens, told me the general public can eat at the Dining Hall and the Lion’s Den (a grille complete with pool tables, wide-screen TVs, foosball, a jukebox and a patio).
There’s also an Einstein Bros. Bagels in the Levine Center for Wellness and Recreation that the public can access. And while community members can’t use the fitness facility in this building, they can attend the sporting events that take place there.
(7) Free events
Noakes said there are also plenty of free events on campus during the year that the university encourages the community to take part in. The events in the spring 2016 calendar included an opening reception for an art exhibition in their Max L. Jackson Gallery, an MFA Faculty Reading Series in the Ketner Auditorium and a performance by a spoken word artist in that same auditorium.
Check out postings for various events at Queens.edu.
(8) Wide open spaces
I spotted a few people jogging the network of sidewalks that zigzag through campus, vacant benches and Adirondack chairs dotting expanses of greenery just begging for someone to plop down with a book, and a woman sitting with her dog and toddler by one of the many fountains.
Ready to explore? You may want this map.
Photos: Katie Toussaint, Queens University of Charlotte