Helping freshmen navigate OU’s new labyrinthine campus

I’ve been at the Oakland Post for a while now, threatening to quit every year like Brett Favre, but ultimately breaking down and accepting that this is all I’ll ever do with my life. And in my time here, The Oakland Post has had a tradition of making a guide for the incoming freshmen to acclimate them to the campus grounds.

Because no guide was planned for this issue, I decided to take up the task myself. And when your school looks like a barren moonscape when you arrive, you probably could use a little help getting around.

Welcome to Oakland University!

Our campus, renown for its quiet beauty, is in the midst of a massive reconstruction project, shrouding much of the campus in black privacy fences and orange netting, dotting the landscape with roadwork barrels, sawhorses and construction equipment.

While they may seem a nuisance, we feel that the fences and roadblocks add an air of excitement and mystery to the daily commute. The shrill whine of a power drill will no doubt punctuate an otherwise monotonous morning.

The first thing you’ll want to do when you arrive is find parking. You will notice quickly that there is no available parking. This is normal. However, the ongoing construction has made parking even more scarce, in an effort to create more parking.

This year OU introduces “turf” parking, also known as “Uh, I don’t know. Just park wherever.”

OUPD recommends you arrive for class an hour early. If you have an 8 a.m. class and you live off campus, we recommend you simply not sleep. After all, that’s what class is for.

Your best bet is to actually already live on campus. If this is not possible, might we suggest parking at one of the fine restaurant establishments that surround OU? We totally know a guy at TGI Fridays.

If you haven’t already, you will likely want to go to O’Dowd Hall to register for class. Simply circumnavigate the Oakland Center, go into the O’Dowd basement and turn right.

You may need to visit North Foundation Hall to hit up the Office of Financial Aid. From O’Dowd, you’ll have to go around the cordoned-off pile of dirt near Beer Lake and walk through the student inaccessible parking lot. Then, just walk through Wilson Hall, being careful to first go into the basement to avoid walking through the main floor, which is locked for security reasons. Now you need only go around another privacy fence, and you’re there!

What’s that? You’re tired, want to go to the dorms? Well, go back around the fence, through the basement, and push on the third brick from the elevator. Enter the passageway and you’ll see a guy in a hoodie there; his name is Tony. Tony will take you through the sub-bunker to the evacuation silo. Then just knock four times on the vault door and you’re there. Easy!

Maybe you need to go to the library for some study time? No problem! You’ll find this area relatively uninhibited by construction. On the other hand, Caterpillar treads have tended to chew up the cement here. So go ahead and pencil in construction for this area next February in your day planner.

Headed to Elliot Hall? You’ll notice as you approach this building that there is no grass in this area whatsoever. This year we are trying out a Southwestern theme for Elliot, to make Arizonan transfer students feel more at home.

On that note, you may notice that grass is dead. This is due to the aforementioned network of tunnels which makes up OU President Gary Russi’s Bat Cave.

This is also of course why the main floor of Wilson Hall is off limits. Fun Fact: that cluster of trees on Pioneer Drive by the maintenance building is where the Clawzzmobile comes out.

The $62 million OU Human Health Building is currently being constructed on the corner of Walton and Squirrel, where a parking lot once sat. You’ll recognize this place as the area that looks like a giant sink hole.

With the help of a grant from the Department of Energy, this building will harness the power of a geothermal heat pump.

This is thanks to our unique geological position situated on an active volcano. No doubt you read about it in the brochure. Prepare for frequent volcano drills, running to the helipad/ logo in front of the OC.

In all seriousness, the omnipresent detours and roadblocks are just a growing pain in what will bring us a bigger, shinier campus. We can almost guarantee that once you see the finished improvements, you’ll feel the tuition hike was worth it.


Part two of this dual-mouthing off can be read here: