Arriving at Trinity as a new student is like stepping through the wardrobe into Narnia, albeit with a mute tiger named LeeRoy instead of a god-lion named Aslan. You’re in a whole new world to explore, and there are hidden gems and micro-locales everywhere. Some are interesting merely because of their incongruity, while others have a distinct emotional feel. Here I’ve listed just a few that have stood out to me.
The Aesthetic Stairwell
Chapman Hall is a strange place. It has a faint, weird smell, unused balconies and a remarkable interior garden, but it also tucks away the department of economics like the Room of Requirement in “Harry Potter.” You’re only going to find it if you really need it, and you’ll probably have to ask someone for help along the way. While ordinary for the first three flights, this stairwell’s landing opens up spaciously before the fourth floor where the department of economics hides. As it opens up, a high window floods the white walls with sunlight, creating an ethereal atmosphere that evokes a cathedral or museum.
The Rooftop Garden
The Center for Sciences and Innovation (CSI) is chock-full of study lounges, labs and overworked STEM majors. All three are annoying if you spend too much time around them, so if you need a break, head up to the fourth floor and walk towards the south end of CSI along the main walkway. On the opposite side of the glass-walled chemistry Super Lab, you’ll see double doors leading to an outdoor area. There you’ll find a garden planted with numerous native Texas flora. In the middle of this garden there are benches and a table with chairs. At this height, there’s always a nice breeze and a decent view of the campus. It’s a great place to relax since the aforementioned breeze will wreak havoc on any textbook pages and the sun will glare into any screen, giving you the perfect excuse to take a study break.
The Wild Green Yonder
Trinity’s campus is really quite beautiful. The red brick buildings, abundant tree cover and numerous white Adirondack chairs create a consistent and relaxed vibe. However, it can sometimes feel a tad dense without any wide-open spaces to get lost in and get away from the main bustle of campus.However, there is such a space, and it’s just beyond where most students go. If you venture north past Coates Library and Laurie Auditorium, you will find a sprawling park owned by Trinity but rarely used by students. The park is a great place to go to read in the sun, jog along its running trail, throw a Frisbee or just get some space away from the bustle of central campus.
Miniature West Texas
Biking about in a dehydrated daze near campus two summers ago, I stumbled across an area that felt as if I had instantly teleported to the middle of nowhere in West Texas. This area is about a 10-15 minute walk and technically off campus, but quite worth it. Cross the street from Northrup Hall to Alamo Stadium and head south down Stadium Drive over the freeway. Immediately after you get over the freeway, take a left downhill towards an unused road (on Google Maps it’s called Alpine Road). Take a left onto the road and it widens like a vacant highway; as you walk along it, you will see a valley with an amphitheater on your right. Keep going and after some turns in the road you will encounter an isolated stone bench with a view into the Japanese tea gardens. Keep going along the road past the bench (heading North now), and you’ll suddenly find yourself surrounded by tall desert grasses, cacti and shrubbery. The roar of the freeway vanishes and nobody else is likely to be around. On a hot San Antonio day, this little area feels like a vacation to the heart of West Texas with nothing but the sun and the sound of desert animals. It’s a great place to reflect and reset.
These are a fraction of the locales in and near Trinity’s campus, and two years in I know I still haven’t seen everything Trinity has to offer. I’m going to keep exploring and finding new locations, and you should too!