The best photo opportunities and views around campus

The great outdoors has so much beauty to offer students

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(Anish Roy/Daily Collegian)

By Valerie Lehr, Collegian Correspondent

The University of Massachusetts campus is in the midst of fall, which means fall activities, livable dorm conditions and, most importantly, beautiful New England foliage. With the opportunity to take the photos of a lifetime, I think everyone could benefit from recommendations on where the best views are on campus. I decided to venture around and ask a few people where their favorite views are and what they like to do there.

Joshua Teixeira, a senior computer systems engineering major at UMass said, “My favorite fall spots on campus are probably the small courtyard outside Durfee [Conservatory], the circular sculpture near Van Meter and the benches on the campus pond.” He said that he “like[s] to just sit there and relax,” and even to “practice presentations and interviews or otherwise just find some calm.”

Durfee Conservatory is conveniently located next to Franklin Dining Commons and across the street from University Health Services on Thatcher Road. Van Meter is located at the top of Central Residential Area — a beautiful place to take photos at sunset or even to just take a stroll and enjoy the views of the rest of campus. These recommendations would serve as a guide to a breathtaking stroll around the Orchard Hill Residential Area and Central.

Linc Francis, a sophomore psychology major at UMass, said that her favorite spots are “the fields behind Sylvan and the hill,” and that they “love watching the sunset, and these two spots have the best views. Also they’re surrounded by nature.” Sylvan is a bit of a hike from most residence halls, but is accessible by bus.

William Wright, a sophomore economics major at UMass, said that his favorite view is from Floor 15 of the library, where he can work on homework while simultaneously admiring the view of the picturesque mountains surrounding the campus. The upper floors of the library provide a magnificent alternative for gorgeous views around campus to students who are engrossed in their studies and don’t have time to venture into the outdoors. The library is always open to students, granting opportunities for sunrise and sunset photos.

Some parts of campus, including Southwest Residential Area, offer a unique view, others said. It is there that people can see hills and foliage for miles from the comfort of both their desk or bed. The Southwest towers, due to their height, offer lovely views of the surrounding valley to their many residents. If you have the opportunity, head to the apex of the Southwest towers to see the superb views they have to offer.

My personal favorite view is the spot by Webster Hall that looks over Central and gives a picturesque view of the library from Orchard Hill. If someone was to walk from that spot and cross the street toward Greenough Residence Hall, then they can see a perfect view of the Southwest towers. These two spots allow for great pictures with the stunning backdrops of one the most iconic buildings on campus. I would highly recommend that every student venture toward these spots and gets at least one picture here before graduating. In both spots, the array of different colored trees, during the fall season, encompass the dramatic structures in the distance and the overhanging branches create a vignette, adding to the striking view and creating pictures that look both elegant and professional.

With all these beautiful spots around campus, there is little excuse to not get outside and take pictures that will last a lifetime. Even if someone is not the sentimental type, there are so many benefits to getting outdoors, especially this time of year as winter approaches and the sun graces the skies less often. According to the HuffPost article “5 Benefits of Being Outdoors,” some of these benefits include but aren’t limited to: reducing stress levels, helping mental health and improved physical health. This article also states that moderate exercise outdoors can lead to improved academic performance which is an absolute necessity during midterm season.

Life is short, and there are many beautiful places around campus. There are also many activities to participate in outdoors such as hiking the scenic mountains that surround UMass, having a picnic on Orchard Hill’s fields, biking the winding trails or simply climbing Orchard Hill and stargazing when the sky is clear. I implore you, get out there and enjoy the beauty around you!

Valerie Lehr can be reached at [email protected]