While touring around Western University's ivy-clad buildings, your guide will aim to show you the best and brightest parts of your new university. They’re also bound to skip Western’s more unsavoury parts.

Since you’re likely to see these things on your own next year anyways, we figured we’d give you the lowdown now.

Saugeen

Western is a beautiful campus with equally beautiful residence buildings — with the exception of this one. Saugeen-Maitland Hall, despite being Western's largest residence, is not in the Summer Academic Orientation tour for a reason. For people who end up in Saugeen (which seems to be just about anyone who lists it as their last choice), what matters isn’t how ugly their new home is… it’s the friends they’ll make along the way.

Weldon’s upper floors

Weldon is ugly. This is an objective fact. Built in the 1970s (arguably the worst period for architecture), the massive building looks more like a windowless brick than it does a library. Despite this, you’re bound to spend some time there over the next few years in the woes of exam stress. As you look for a desk in the late hours of the night, you’ll notice the layers of dust that have been collecting on the stacks for decades. Maybe Club Weldon isn’t all it cracked up to be.

Weldon Library Interior, May 30 2019

The D. B. Weldon Library's third floor, May 30 2019.

The existential dread surrounding Doug Ford

Your tour guide, with pep in their step and a smile that suggests everything is fine, will avoid discussing the provincial politics that have left many Western students on edge: political unrest isn't part of the script they've been assigned. They will draw your attention away from the angry posters and small protests that have popped up around campus, trying to mask the existential dread that has settled in our hallowed halls. But believe me — with less OSAP and a blow to student experience, we're all very afraid.

Walkout protest (Photo 4)

Everett Newland, a master's student in the Department of Anthropology, speaks at the protest, March 20, 2019.

The Hill during any kind of extreme weather

Western has gotten into some hot water these past few years for not adequately salting its walkways in cold weather. You think UC Hill is daunting now? Try walking to class when there are layers of ice between your feet and the pavement. Strap on your skates, kids.

Western winter campus UC hill

Western has closed today due to weather, Feb. 6, 2019.

The gym when it’s busy

You just want to run on the treadmill. You go over to the gym, tap your student card, and suddenly you’re equal parts overwhelmed and afraid — there are huge men everywhere. You try to find a machine, but no matter where you turn in this tightly-packed building you’re met by protein powder-guzzling students who have been here for hours with no intention of leaving anytime soon. Getting a workout in when you hardly have room to breathe? No thanks.

Western's Rec Centre

Spencer Fairweather // GAZETTE

The prices at the campus grocer

All you want is the ingredients to make a grilled cheese sandwich when you get home. Suddenly, you’re handing the cashier $40 and trying not to weep. 

USC Basement Grocery Store

UCC congestion

You have twenty minutes between classes and you’re hoping you can grab a quick lunch from Tim Horton's. Think again — the line alone will take at least forty minutes to get through. Is it worth showing up to class late with a bagel? Probably.

EPrize - UCC Tim Horton's Line

The UCC Timmies line is back in full swing, bringing the Western community together in the spirit of coffee and bagels, Jan. 7, 2019.

FOCO/Purplefest

A few years ago, Western moved Homecoming in an attempt to curb campus partying. The result? Students partied harder, retaliating by throwing a block party dubbed "Fake Homecoming", or FOCO. To the dismay of London police and campus administration, FOCO has become an annual (and dangerous) affair. Your tour guide is unlikely to mention that — especially not in front of your parents.

FOCO Broughdale Crowd

The huddled FOCO mass, Sept. 29, 2018.

The empty bleachers at football games

Between SAO and OWeek, it seems like our school spirit is spent by the time that football starts. But real school spirit, if you have any, should be put towards your fellow students, not residences and faculties. After all, if we can care this much about the Toronto Raptors, we should try to care more about the Mustangs too.

empty bleachers @ hoco football game

The turnout for the 2017 Homecoming football game was just over 5,200. Nearly half of what it was in 2015, prior to the HOCO date change.

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Gabrielle is the opinions editor for Volume 112. Pitch an article at gabrielle.drolet@westerngazette.ca, and find her on Twitter @GabrielleDrolet.

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