The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Sore Legs and Spoiled Tempers From Shape of UMW Campus

3 min read


Like many incoming students, I decided to study a map of the University of Mary Washington and locate my classes prior to my first week here. While I was able to find my classes with ease, I noticed something a little peculiar about UMW’s campus: our school is quite oddly shaped.

With a width of about a quarter mile and a length (from the Apartments to Eagle Landing) of about .8 miles, according to Google Earth, our park-like campus is just over three times longer than it is wide. While the dimensions of our campus are seemingly inconsequential, its long, narrow shape has some notable effects on students trying to get to class, specifically upperclassmen.

For those students living in dorms on campus, getting to class on time is not typically a problem. However, countless upperclassmen live in either Eagle Landing or the UMW Apartments, which are nearly a mile apart.

Having lived in the UMW Apartments during my sophomore year, I found it quite a hassle to attend my biology class in Jepson, seeing that it was quite a trek to get there. My resolution to work out regularly was also complicated by my distance from Goolrick, and the journey to the gym soon eradicated any motivation I initially had to exercise.

Similarly, students in Eagle Landing who have multiple classes in Combs will tell you how much of a hassle it is to hike all the way over to the east side of campus.

One’s willingness to socialize is put to the ultimate test when a student living in the UMW Apartments has to go to Eagle Landing to visit friends, or vice versa.

Perhaps those who built our campus, which I might add is undeniably scenic, had our physical well-being in mind as they designed it so that it would require students to do some serious foot traveling. That, or they didn’t realize the inconvenience it would cause. Or maybe they didn’t have the means to build a campus that used space efficiently. The things I would do for a square campus.

One might assume that having a car would solve this trivial problem. However, this is where the serious problems begin. I am fortunate enough to live in a house on William Street this year with a handy dandy car.

I assumed that driving to class would relieve me of the burdens previously mentioned. However, I soon learned that parking on campus is much more problematic than walking from one end to the other.

Due to the obnoxious shape of our campus and lack of inner roads that might have existed if our campus was shorter and wider, essentially, the only places to park on campus are College Avenue and commuter lots.

Like many fellow broke college students, I opted out of the commuter parking pass to cut some financial corners. Also, like fellow students, I assumed the best place to park would be on College Avenue. I soon learned, however, that attempting to find a decent spot on College Avenue takes about three times longer than simply walking.

One afternoon, I had to make five laps on this main street before I regretfully admitted defeat and parked on an obscure block on Augustine Avenue.

The best part of that day was when I got a $35 parking ticket because my car apparently made it blatantly obvious that I was a UMW student parking in a “No UMW Student” parking zone. All right, Mary Washington, you win.

This UMW problem is clearly trivial and of little importance to the school’s administration. However, it really is the little things about this school that just make me shake my head.

Lesson learned: walk to class. And on my walk, you can be sure I will be dreaming about a utopian square campus where students are free to choose which main road is ideal for parking, and treks across campus that eon’t require every ounce of willpower a student possesses.