Take some time to explore

By Jessica Primavera

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(Erica Lowenkron/ Daily Collegian)

(Erica Lowenkron/ Daily Collegian)

At first, the University of Massachusetts Amherst campus can seem overwhelming and huge. I know it seemed that way for me. But if you take some time to explore the campus, you’ll soon discover some amazing places.

One day during my freshman year, I was wandering through the maze-like halls of Morrill Science Center. The signs on the walls saying “Don’t worry; it’s not supposed to make sense” were reassuring, but not very helpful. I stumbled across a room called the Rausch Mineral Gallery. It showcases former UMass professor Marvin Rausch’s collection of rare minerals from all over the world. Rows of dazzling gems are displayed, packing a museum’s worth of wonder into a space that is slightly larger than an average dorm room.

When I found the tunnel connecting Herter and Bartlett halls, the circumstances were just as coincidental. Before that day, I had no idea that it existed. But then, I heard someone mention the tunnel in conversation. I was intrigued by the description and decided to find it for myself, heading down to the basement of Herter as soon as I had some free time. After I discovered it, I used it frequently. The underground route was vastly preferable to struggling through rain, snow or cold weather.

No matter how many great locations I find, my absolute favorite place on the UMass campus has to be Durfee Conservatory. Dating back to 1867, it’s an oasis of serenity for busy students. It’s a place to escape from all of your stress, where it’s always warm and slightly humid, no matter how bleak the weather outside is. There are five sections of the conservatory, each featuring a different category of plant. The largest of these is the Tropical House, which features a fish pond and many exotic trees.

Some other great places to check out are the Orchard Hill observatory, the greenhouses connected to Morill and the many art galleries on campus. There is the University Museum of Contemporary Art, the Augusta Savage Gallery, the Herter Art Gallery and the Hampden Gallery. You can find whatever type of art you like on display somewhere at UMass.

I encourage everyone, whether you’ve been at UMass for three days or three years, to take some time to explore the world around you. Wander around without any specific destination in mind. You might find your new favorite place.

Jessica Primavera is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected]