CUNY students were adept at finding spaces that work for them for academic work and downtime during their long days on campus, even given the challenges of space-constrained urban commuter campuses. Sometimes they sought quiet locations for studying or time to recharge, other times they explore the surrounding neighborhoods. Students expressed an appreciation for nature-filled spots and those that they percieved to be less well-known by their fellow classmates.
[The Hall of Fame for Great Americans]: I like to go there sometimes when the weather’s nice. This is actually where I have lunch. Like a little snack during the days. It’s also inspiring because you go there and sit next to historians and so forth and you remember that they started off in college just like you, so it kinda inspires you to some extent.
–Bronx Community College student, Fall 2010
[The 4th floor library reading room] is one of the quietest places on campus. It’s very quiet, it doesn’t have a lot of people, and if you are there, and you make the slightest noise, you actually will hear “shh”, is one of the only sounds. So basically, somebody might be across the room, because I did it once, I was on my cell phone, and I heard 3 or 4 different “shhh,” so I got up and I ran out because it’s basically the majority rules, so I can’t… It’s one of my favorite places to study.
–Brooklyn College student, Fall 2009
Student: And that’s another picture of my “favorite part of the day.” That’s, that’s during my break.
Interviewer: OK, and it’s down by the river.
Student: Mm-hmm. Have you ever been there? It’s really pretty… I know other places, too. I forgot the monument, the Irish monument? That’s like a block away from there. […] And there’s another spot like up the dock from right here. It’s, like, just a little garden, like, flowers. It’s really pretty.
–Borough of Manhattan Community College student, Fall 2010
That’s just Student Resource Next Center. I like to go there because it’s just, like, couches and there is a TV there to watch, and play video games there. Yeah, it’s, like, people just go there to hang out, play games. There’s like board games there. People… There’s computer rooms nearby too. And if you wanna print something you could print for free there. […] I like to use the microwave there, and eat there too. I suppose mostly, yeah that’s why I usually go. I wanna go somewhere just relax a bit.
–Hunter College student, Spring 2011
So… this is much more quiet [than the main campus library]. You see it’s very empty. ‘Cause no one knows where it is. I think it’s, like, the best kept secret at Hunter. No one knows where it is except the art students, and… Usually you see five, six people. And sometimes they close the other part of the library because they’re having conferences, but that doesn’t happen very often. So that’s half a table, but it’s quite big and you see: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten. It could easily fit about ten people. And most days when I go there, there’s only about two or three people at that table. So you have the room to kind of spread your stuff out. And it’s really, really quiet because there’s no one there.
–Hunter College student, Fall 2010
So this is right over on, right over near the 6th floor actually. When I’m about to go in the lab or right after a class, I just need to sit and get my stuff together or if I want to eat something really quick, and like I said, one of the other reasons I like it is because the big window. And there is a lot of light and there is the individual table with a chair which is good so I can put all my stuff. Mainly one person sits there unless you are studying with somebody, I usually see, if it’s me I put my bag on the other seat and other people do that too. And then there are the benches, which I sometimes just like to sit there and just hang out and look out the window.
–City Tech student, Fall 2009
Yeah, this is another place on campus I like to hang out. Like when I first came here when it was warm, you know you could sit by the pond and just take time.
–Brooklyn College student, Fall 2009
That’s the Quad. That’s the center of the school, I guess you could say. And they have… I remember the first week of school, they had a whole bunch of parties and events, and that’s where I met a lot of people, a lot of people I still talk to to this day. So, that’s like, the hangout zone. Sometimes, when the weather’s nice outside, I like to eat dinner or lunch there. It’s good to get away from all the studies and the locked rooms.
Another student concurs: I like that, you know, usually with the warm weather you get to be a part with nature and you’ve got so many people that’s around on the lawn doing so many different things. And there’s also times when I talk to people or I hang out with people on the stone wall. I think it’s part of the college experience. You’re outside, you’re with nature, you’re with so many people around you, and you learn different things.
–City College student, Fall 2010
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