It's likely that if you ever take take a tour of Amherst, near the end of the tour you'll end up on Memorial Hill. Your tour guide will then point at the beautiful hills in front of you and say, "This is the quintessential Amherst view. Everything that the light touches...is yours."
Corny, I know, but it's true! Amherst owns around 800 acres, but most of the campus is centralized on only 200 of those. The other 600 extend towards the Holyoke Range - that beautiful view we students know so well.
Last weekened, we occupied the other 75% of the campus. Taylor, Dan, Jenna, and I explored the walking trails and wildlife sanctuary through the woods on the other side of campus. On the way, we found some cool plants, a pond, some great climbing trees, Tuttle Hill, and the bird sanctuary. Then we went to Flayvor's Farm for delicious homemade ice cream.
Now that you've seen the video, let me tell you a little more about how much I love the bird sanctuary. I've spent quite a lot of time there -- it's one of my favorite areas of the campus. As a first-year, my friends and I would often take long walks through the trails at night, exploring and reading poetry in the woods. Afterwards, we would walk back to my room in Stearns and sit around in blankets drinking hot chocolate. Once, we were all so tired after the walk that we ended up crashing on my bed. See the evidence on the left.
What I love about the bird sanctuary and my relationship to it is that it really feels like I can make the campus mine. I've had so many great experiences on the War Memorial, on the Hill, and in the Sanctuary, that it makes the whole area feel very personal. I love that I can do that in Amherst.
Here are some of the ways I've personalized this area of the campus:
My roomate my first year was from India, so we had a lovely candelelit Diwali celebration on the War Memorial. However, we had to be careful, becaue it's rumored that if you walk across the centerpiece - you won't graduate from Amherst!
Every fall, during Homecoming Weekend, there is a large bonfire at the bottom of Memorial Hill. It's huge. I'm not kidding. These are some pictures taken by Sam Tang '15, one of my residents this year, who also knows how to take some cool light-writing pictures.
Another tradition that takes place on Memorial Hill is the Major Scream. Amherst students don't have to declare a major until the end of their sophomore year. This is usually a pretty difficult decision, since we liberal arts, open-curriculum students want to major in everythingggg... So it's a big deal when we finally decide on a major. We celebrate this by doing the Major Scream on Memorial Hill - once you finally declare a major, you go to Memorial Hill and yell out the title of your major at the top of your voice to the great hills beyond. My friends and I did it this year, and for me it was easy - I just had to yell out a nice, short "ENGLISH!!" My friend Maia, however, had to take a very deep breath and yell out, "WOMEN'S AND GENDER STUDIES AND ENGLISHHHHH!!" It's a really fun tradition.
So, faithful reader, I hope I've given you an accurate perspective on the types of things that occur on Memorial Hill and beyond. If you haven't watched the video, make sure to do so now (here's the link again!). Make sure to come back next week for more fun stuffs, funny videos, and awkward pictures of my friends (that I have unashamedly used entirely without their permission - sorry, guys!).
See you next week!