As I walked directly in the line of a strong February wind, on a late night return from the Harvey Andruss library, I noticed some things that I normally wouldn’t. I passed what used to be a parking lot for the Library and Centennial, which is now merely gravel and yellow tape being constructed into an Arts and Administration Building. I took the path to the left and walked by Centennial, Sutliff, Hartline, and right past the back entrance to Soltz Hall.
Close to five years ago, Soltz Hall wasn’t a thing. And neither was the Chic-Fil-A and Qdoba that are inside it. And neither were all the dorm rooms, or the new and much bigger bookstore that are also apart of the massive building. This space used to be the police station, mailroom, and bookstore all in one small structure. Now the mailroom is on East 2nd, and the police station is behind the library.
I pass the Scranton Commons, which still has the old familiar Subway and Starbucks. Except instead of the Italian Kitchen (which was there my Freshman year in 2014 believe it or not), it’s a Steak-n-Shake. You can get the pizza at the Husky Lounge now, which has changed multiple times since I’ve been here. Just like Monty’s on Upper Campus.
I then pass the Kehr Union, walk by Carver Hall and the notorious “Golden Nipple,” and make my way down Penn Street toward Lightstreet Road. This walk from Harvey Andruss toward my house on Iron Street is a familiar one. It’s one I’ve made countless times. If it wasn’t back to my place on Iron the past three years, it was the same campus walk back to my Freshmen dorm, Elwell Hall, or my old apartment on East Anthony Ave.
Regardless of where I’m going or where I’ve come from, I’ve noticed extreme nostalgia setting in anytime I stroll through campus. As a graduating fifth-year senior this May, my time here is coming to an end. I’m ready to move onto the “real world” but I cannot deny that I’ll miss this place. I’ll miss this school, this town, these people, and all the memories I’m leaving behind. And I think I speak for most of my fellow students when I say that these are some of the wildest, most cherished, and weirdest memories of my life.
This will, like for plenty of others, always be the first place where I lived on my own without my parents. I’d lived my whole life in the same house in the same northern New Jersey suburb, yet Bloomsburg has found a way to become just as much of a home to me as my small town in Morris County. While here, I figured out what I wanted to major in, what fields I’m interested in working in, and who I am as a person. I grew up rapidly in my time at Bloom, faster than any other point in my life. This school and this community have shaped me as much as almost anything has.
All of that doesn’t mean there weren’t problems and complaints. I’ve been let down by the school. I’ve been angry and disappointed in the school. There have been times; countless to be honest, where we students have had legitimate grievances with the University. Through all of these however, the student body maintained its spirit and love for the community. The same students who make this town what it is.
Right here in Bloomsburg, PA, around 8 to 10 thousand college kids from all walks of life have made an otherwise unassuming small country town into an active, beloved nightlife scene and their own home away from home. Despite some backlash from town members or out of touch leaders around here, we students help drive the local economy, and also contribute to town cleanups, charities, and community outreach. Bloomsburg University students have done something quite exceptional—having created a small microcosm of youthful independence in the middle of rural Pennsylvania while also helping to shape a small rustic town into an extremely unique experience.
Just walk down Main Street. Take a look at Franks, Tri-Pi Pizzeria, Bloomin’ Bagels, Hess’ Tavern, Capitol Bar & Grille, West End Ale Haus, and so on and so on. Those are thriving business that on a given day or time can be packed outside the door. Or take a trip down East Street and look at Naps and GOD’s (Good Ol Days), or drive past all the many businesses on Route 11 that students occupy daily. Or just look at how Hardware used to be on a Thursday at 12:00 am (RIP). We are a massive stimulant to the economy and all the small and large businesses that thrive off us.
It’s relatively easy to get a taste of the fun we have here. It doesn’t take much for us to declare a party. Whether it’s simply the falling of snowflakes, a Professor strike on a random Tuesday, a massive blimp knocking out all our power, or just the fact that the sun is out, Bloomsburg students are always ready to go. It would be tough to find a more enthusiastic group of people. Just walk down Fetterman on Block Party every April. It would be hard to top that.
I could very easily go on and on about my time here. Looking back on a long (too long) college career, there are countless instances that I will never forget. But the little things are the ones that I’ve been noticing more. Pretty soon I will never get to swipe into Commons again, or rot in the library for hours, or walk into the always-comforting confines of Campus Beer (actually none of us will now).
Though it is time to move on, it is truly bittersweet. For all of those who will be graduating this May, don’t take the little things for granted. Even if it’s just during a walk from the Library back home, take a chance to reflect. There have been some great times, some good times, some bad times, and some awful times. But they are times I wouldn’t trade for the world. Just like this community is one I wouldn’t trade for the world either. Thank you and good luck to the current students and my fellow graduates.