SUNY-ALBANY (visited 7/23/13)
Although there is a lot of concrete on this campus, somehow, they mostly make it work without it feeling like a monstrosity. The university has one of the most interesting lay-outs I’ve ever seen. Driving onto campus, we were faced with a large green expanse with two large new buildings on either side and a promenade with columns in front of us. One of the buildings in front housed the admissions office.
Walking through the promenade from the admissions office, we arrived at a large symmetrical quad. The very center is an open space with a fountain and a Carillion which sounds every hour. Unfortunately, this was being renovated when I visited so I didn’t hear it ring. On the two short sides of this open space are the Performing Arts Center and the Library. The PAC has an art gallery that is open to the public; I spoke to the woman staffing the desk; most of the exhibits are graduate students or outside exhibitors. Senior art majors will exhibit at the end of the year.Studio space is very limited and usually given to graduate students; undergrads will share spaces.
They offer all sorts of arts, including sculpture, photography, and studio art. The library is beautiful on the inside; the lobby is open and light; the three floors all have balconies overlooking the space, and there are windows and doors open from the stacks to let in light. Ten academic buildings create the outermost level of (4 along each of the long sides of the rectangle, and 2 at the ends). Some of their more unusual majors offered are: Documentary Studies, Social Welfare, Financial Market Regulation, Urban Studies and Planning, Puerto Rican Studies, and Globalization Studies. Qualified students in the Arts and Sciences can apply to complete an accelerated MBA program.
Across from the Promenade on the other long side of the quad sits the Campus Center. Although there’s no big dining hall here, there are “Outtakes” which has grab-and-go food. The big dining halls are located in the four housing quads which sit at each of the four corners of the academic quad: a 20+ story tower is surrounded by a 4-story rectangular building. Each of these Residential Units has its own gym in addition to a dining hall. We got to see the dorm rooms, and they were actually fairly nice; many were suite style and spacious. Two quads are considered Freshman quads and are dry. There are some Special Interest Housing and Living-Learning Communities located in different quads, including a Wellness House, Sustainability, Biology, East Asian Studies, Jewish Life and Culture, Technology, Fitness, Writing, and and Honors College.
There are two new Residential Units built on campus outside of the quad areas; these are townhouse style and gorgeous! They look just like an apartment/townhouse complex. There is parking directly in front of the units, barbecues, landscaping, etc. There’s also another living complex located about 3 miles from the main campus.
The School of Nanoscale Science and Engineering has a huge new complex directly next to campus. They’re the first school anywhere to offer Nanoscale engineering at the undergraduate level.