Bucket list bathrooms on campus

The must-visit bathrooms of UMass

Courtesy+of+Ben+Connolly

Courtesy of Ben Connolly

By Ben Connolly, Collegian Staff

After many months away from the University of Massachusetts campus, we all have things we missed in our absence – in-person lectures, number one dining and parties, to name only a few. However, the highest rated feature of on campus living is, needless to say, the public restrooms.

The campus restrooms offer a cross-section of life and are an unbiased representation of the state of existence for all students, worthy of the deepest archeological documentations. Meticulously sculpted over decades of experience, erosion and expression, each bathroom on campus is like its own work of art.

But who has time to see every single stall? You’re a full-time student, you don’t have time for exploration. You need a list, a concise collection of only the most notable restrooms.

Herter second and fourth floor public bathrooms

Starting off this list of essential experiences is the most artistic restroom I’ve seen. Herter is often home to language classes and it shows in their bathrooms filled with graffiti. But we are not just talking spray paint and bubble letters — there are Humanities and Fine Arts majors in these halls. In these stalls you will find quotes from fine literature, admissions of guilt, homemade poems and many other relics from students trying to avoid class. Every engraving is flavored with its own little flair, be it the scrawl width, intensity or perhaps even the color of the carve. Each slice is marked by its own small act of rebellion and anonymity, truly an experience equivalent to the finest art exhibits.

Renovated Student Union unisex bathrooms

If you haven’t had a chance to visit the newly renovated Student Union, you may want to. A far more modern and spacious modification of the classic center, this renovation applied to the bathrooms as well, and man, what the hell. I’ve never seen a restroom like this in my life. You enter the gender-neutral bathroom to be met with a maze of lockers. Every stall identical, sheets of metal upon sheets of metal, each from ground to ceiling, no gaps at all. A cell. Just you, the toilet and an ominous red light that looks like it’s straight out of a panopticon. Upon exit I’ve heard many stories of shock and dismay on seeing a member of the opposite sex washing their hands in over an almost trough-like sink set up, illuminated by an oppressing and unwavering fluorescent light. Looking into the mirror for a quick check on your appearance is asking to have your self-esteem beat down like the uniform lighting upon every aspect of your face.

Goessman first floor men’s bathroom

It was inevitable eventually, but evaluating bathrooms is wet work. Few of my journalistic ventures were more visceral than my trip into the Goessman First Floor Men’s bathroom. Upon my entrance I was immediately greeted with an inexplicable wall installed right behind the door, needlessly forcing patrons to turn directly to the right to avoid collision. After the initial swerve, I went to check out one of the stalls. I went to open the door, and the handle fell off. I’m not kidding. The whole handle just fell apart in my hand. I was stunned. Once I got over my initial shock, I entered the stall, holding it shut with my foot, and was accosted by 3 mosquitos. Yes, mosquitoes hovering in the middle of the chamber. I have no idea how they got there, as there were no windows or ventilation of any kind, but they were evidently frustrated by my intrusion. Once they flew away, I had time to enjoy the rust and chipped paint on the wall. On my way out, I noticed an air freshener about seven feet up the wall and felt some brief sadness and sympathy. That little guy must have expired years ago, as it was far beyond doing anything to mask the odor in this room and no one had released him from his post. Stuck there, a corpse displayed, refused its last rites.

Brooks first floor handicap bathroom

On the other end of the quality spectrum, we find the Brooks first floor handicap restroom. The craftsmanship is exquisite. The care put into every tile of the wall is obvious. The cleanliness is top notch. The bathroom also features the biggest ring light I’ve ever seen. It’s a marvelous two feet in diameter. The lighting is beautiful and soft, but illuminating. It was almost calming. And let’s talk about space. The space in the bathroom is astounding. It’s bigger than some classrooms. I briefly thought about taking my laptop in there to do some studying, though my conscience pursued me otherwise. Still a wonderful experience.

Ben Connolly can be reached at [email protected].