Ghost Campus I stopped by campus this morning to move a monitor from my office to Weez's, and as I left the building I was struck by how empty the atrium was. The balloons were still attached to the ficus trees, the "congratulations" banner was still strung across the wall, but the building was close to deserted. Staff were working quietly inside their offices, but the bustle of students and faculty--which reaches near fever-pitch during the last weeks of the quarter--was absent.

It reminded me of how it used to feel when I was an undergraduate student in Ann Arbor, where I often chose to spend the summers working and playing with friends. There's something almost magical about what happens in the spring when the swarm of students leaves for the summer. The strikingly quiet buildings and walkways invite you to slow down, to look around at how beautiful a campus can be, and to notice that while you were cloistered in classrooms and offices spring had arrived in all its glory.

For professors who are also parents, late May and June are particularly precious--because the kids are still in school, but we aren't. So today I'm soaking up this brief, peaceful interlude between the just-finished chaos of exams and paper grading, and the impending excitement of heading to Seattle on Saturday.


I also find a summer campus beautiful, quiet and peaceful. But I can't take it for very long. Somehow without the students a campus lacks the energy and vitality that charge me up during the school year. I think the calm is necessary of course but at the same time it reminds me of sleep. You need some but too much is just going to have a negative return.

My campus doesn't have these public interior spaces (at least anywhere near my office) so I'm not privy to any decoration or sense of celebration. The first session of convocation took me by surprise when I breezed into my office at lunchtime!

I can completely agree with you on the precious, golden feeling of these weeks between the end of university term and school term. I need to make more use of them before the girls are home for the summer.

Ann Arbor in the summer - what a lovely memory.

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