When I first stepped foot on Lehigh’s campus six years ago, I was only a high school student entranced by the mere thought of starting college. Yet, somehow on that day I was able to set aside my apprehensions over SAT scores, Common App questions, and letters of recommendations. I was able to forget about all of those things because I was completely distracted by the beauty of the campus.
The fact that I’m writing this post gives away what happened next: I enrolled, spent four years as an undergraduate student, graduated . . . and then enrolled again. As a current graduate student who has been at Lehigh for the past five years, I can say that I still find the campus just as beautiful as I did on that first day I visited. However, many things have changed.
For example, Williams Hall is now home to the Global Commons, the Office of Interdisciplinary Programs, and several academic departments. However, it used to be that random empty building that would always be at the center of several questions during my tours to perspective students.
“So, there’s really nothing in that large building?” parents would ask me as we strolled down Memorial Walkway.
“Just a few offices,” I would answer. “But, I can tell you a quick anecdote about a fire that blew off the roof in the 1950s . . .”
The now Caruso Wrestling Complex used to be Ulrich Student Center and the Mail Center. Conveniently located right across from my freshmen-year dorm, it was my secret study space during finals. While everyone else was dueling over a table in Lindy, I could always find a spot in Ulrich after hours. But, alas, the space was gone after my freshmen year, and the Mail Center was relocated to what was then known as Campus Square.
Which brings me to the latest change I’ve seen: the renaming of Campus Square to Farrington Square. The name change occurred this past September in order to honor former Lehigh President Gregory C. Farrington. It was during his presidential term in 2000 that Campus Square was originally built. Although the name has changed, the area has stayed relatively the same during my time as a student. The space consists of the Campus Bookstore, The Cup Ice Cream Parlor, Johnny’s Bagels, and the new Mail Center.
Even though Farrington Square is at the very bottom of campus (the most level part of campus, if you will), it still remains a popular and integral part of Lehigh’s community. Part of this, of course, has to do with the amenities it provides: ice cream, care packages from home, and Lehigh apparel. During the summer and fall months it even hosts the Bethlehem Farmers’ Market.
However, for me, it serves as more than just a space to get mail and produce. When my secret study spot moved after freshmen year, I moved with it. When nice weather hits Lehigh’s campus, you can usually find myself and several other students emerging from Fairchild Martindale Library and heading toward the tables and benches in Farrington to do our studying. We get to see the sunlight, smell the fresh air, people watch, and be within walking distance of two important studying essentials: coffee and food.
Farrington Square’s most important role, however, is as a bridge between Lehigh’s campus and the Bethlehem community. In other words, it is an inclusive space. The square is situated on Morton Street, right across from several Bethlehem businesses and only a block away from Broughal Middle School. I often see students walking home from school and families from the area entering The Cup. Even if I’m completely absorbed in my textbooks and homework assignments, being in this space always reminds me of the larger community that Lehigh is a part of. I’d say it is one of the only Lehigh spaces that encompasses the Bethlehem community and reminds students that there is a lot going on outside of our Lehigh Bubble.
What is your favorite part of Farrington Square? Let us know below!