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April 3, 2013
College Voices
In the Center of It All - by Michela Hunter
by College Voices
Michela Hunter
Freshman, Brigham Young University

I walk in. To my left are the Varsity Theater, open and empty, and Jamba Juice. To my right is the Y-Serve office. Ahead I can see the Garden Court; they always have events in here, and today is no exception, though I don't know what the event is.

The noise from the Jamba Juice blenders fades into the background as I turn right, pass the ID Center and head towards the terrace; now the chatter of people on the terrace and in the food court fills my ears. It's noisy, but quietly so; if I were talking to someone beside me I'd be able to hear them just fine. People are eating lunch on the terrace, either talking with friends or alone and studying. Someone's got a camera, a table, and computers set up in the corner of the terrace, probably doing a video project.

I brought my own lunch today, so I ignore the food court and pass the Career Center and University Advisement offices, which are across the hall from a row of long tables that lines the terrace. People at the tables advertise different student activities, BYUSA events or ROTC or various clubs around campus. Sometimes people at the tables hand out flyers with information about their club or event, and then you try (and usually fail) to walk by quickly without making eye contact; today, though, there isn't anyone handing out anything. I pass stacks of magazines--housing guides, bridal guides--and dodge a tour group of potential students and a family with little kids before reaching the stairs.

It's considerably quieter upstairs, though you can still hear the chatter from below. I go down a hallway and pass a room from which "Everything" by Michael Bublé can be heard playing; it sounds like there's a dance class in there. It's lunchtime, and students are everywhere--sitting on the benches lining the halls, in armchairs, on the floor by the wall, warming up food in the microwave or extracting snacks from the vending machines. Most of them eat alone, studying; here and there are couples, or an older student with a baby. I tuck myself into a corner and open a book and my lunch.

You can still hear what's going on on the terrace. A lot of times they'll do fundraisers or special events down there during lunch, when the most people are there or passing through. Today someone is announcing into a microphone some new hangout spot in the basement--called The Wall. It sounds mildly interesting; I'll have to go down there sometime soon.

Soon I do; my FHE group goes bowling the following Monday, and we explore the basement a bit. It's quieter down here, and easier to get lost. We walk down the quiet halls, passing the lost-and-found, the hair salon. We pass the ride board, a huge map of the country with wooden boxes, each one labeled with a state, in which people who need rides to anywhere in the country can put their name and phone number, which can be pulled out by someone who's driving there and could give them a ride. We go into the bowling alley, which isn't huge but is big enough to hold a section of arcade games. While the rest of our family waits in line to pay for a game, Gabe and I leave the bowling alley to explore The Wall next door, which is like a restaurant, lounge, and non-alcoholic bar rolled into one. We don't stay long and hurry back to begin our game; but it's a pretty cool hangout spot. I will be coming back here again.

You can't not enter the Wilkinson Center as a student at BYU. So many different aspects of student life here depend on this one building; no matter your major or how many clubs you do or don't do, you will find some need to come here at some point in your university career--to buy textbooks at the bookstore, to get your student ID, or for one of the countless dances and club events that take place there.

It's a place that is always bursting with activity, even in the recesses where no one ever goes; there is nearly always something going on, academic or extracurricular. This hub of student life is invaluable in its versatility--offices like the Career Center are so helpful to those who don't quite yet know what they want to do--and it has a way of connecting you to the university and the other students. For this reason it is one of my favorite places on campus.


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