by Erica Jackson, Graduate Student Assistant
Transitioning to a new college/university setting can be overwhelming. At first, all buildings may look the same and sometimes reading a map just won’t do. As we welcome our incoming freshmen and transfer students to VCU at the end of next week, we encourage you to take your own walking tour of the university (ask a few of your new friends to join you) and begin to acclimate yourself with some of the primary facilities and services that will help you during your educational journey here.
To get started, you’ll need the tour route information below, along with this Monroe Park Campus map which visually outlines your tour route. The numbers in parenthesis below coordinate with the map and tour route. Don’t forget to wear some comfortable shoes!
Stop 1: Your tour will begin at the corner of Broad and Harrison Streets. If you’ve previously attended an information session in our Welcome Center (1) or one of our Open Houses in the Siegel Center (2), this intersection will probably look familiar. The Siegel Center is not only where we host large events and concerts on campus, but it comes to life when our men’s and women’s basketball teams take the floor during our home games! Another important facility to note at this stop is the Student Health Center (3), which is located on the far left side of the Siegel Center, in the brick building. It is staffed with doctors and nurses who are ready to see our students. Call ahead to schedule a doctor’s appointment; the center also has a pharmacy where prescriptions can be filled at a discount.
Stop 2: Located directly across Broad Street, our School of the Arts Building houses our sculpture, printmaking, and craft and matrial studies programs. On the first floor of Ramz Apartments (7) you can find some great restaurants and shops (many of which take VCU RamBucks) including Qdoba, Tropical Smoothie, Jersey Mikes, Coldstone Creamery, and 7-Eleven.
Stop 3: Note the Office of the President (9) and the Office of Admissions (8).
Stop 4: Known as “freshman central,” the corner of Laurel and Franklin Streets houses the majority of freshmen residence halls on the Monroe Park campus: Johnson Hall (10), Brandt Hall (11), and Rhoads Hall (12). Located just across Monroe Park at the corner of Laurel and Main Streets, you’ll find Gladding Residence Center (18). All four of these locations are located seconds away from each other, so visiting and making friends is a little bit easier.
Stop 5: Note Snead Hall — School of Business (13), East (14) and West (15) Halls — School of Engineering, Cary and Belvidere Residence College (16).
Stop 6: Located on your right at the corenr of Main and Laurel Streets is Richmond’s Landmark Theater (19). The Landmark hosts a variety of events including Broadway, symphony, ballet, children’s theater, concerts and fashion shows.
Stop 7: Note the Temple Building (20) — home to the School of Mass Communications and high-capacity lecture halls, Oliver Hall (21) — home to the School of Education, and the Trani Center for Life Sciences (22) — home to the Department of Biology and Center for Environmental Studies.
Stop 8: Working out can be a great way to relax and burn off some stress. The Cary Street Gym (23) is located on Cary Street across from the Thalhimer Tennis Courts (25) and next to the Cary Street Field (24). Students can exercise using the gym’s large array of cardio and free weight equipment. There is a floor to ceiling rock climbing wall that students can use. If the rock climbing wall is too challenging, try your hand at the boulder which is much smaller and closer to the ground. The four full sized basketball courts can be used for intramural basketball games, pickup games, or even be converted to volleyball courts, or used to play table tennis.
The full sized swimming pool is another favorite at the Cary Street Gym. The pool features a rock climbing wall, water slide, whirl pool, and a hot tub large enough for groups of friends to enjoy all together. They also has two racquet ball courts, a suspended indoor walking/running track, and an indoor turf field where students can play soccer and other fun team sports. Group exercise classes, including yoga, palates, step, zumba, and much more are offered daily. Membership to the gym is included in your student activities fees if you’re enrolled as a full-time student!
Stop 9: The Student Services Center (26), commonly referred to as a “one-stop shop,” houses the Office of Financial Aid, Student Accounting, and Records and Registration. It is located on the first floor of Grace E. Harris Hall at 1015 Floyd Avenue (right beside the University Student Commons). At the Student Services Center, you can register for classes, speak with financial aid representatives, request official VCU transcripts, and pay tuition bills all in one place.
Stop 10: If you are ever in the mood for a quick game of pool, need to grab a quick bite to eat before class, or want to take a date to the movies on the weekend, the University Student Commons (27) is the place for you!
On the main level of the Student Commons, you have the opportunity to grab food from Subway or Pizza Hut (and new for fall 2013 Taco Bell). Movies that are just coming out of theaters, and on the way to DVD, are played throughout the year in the Commons Theater – there’s usually little to no fee for students and their guests. You can also unwind with a game of pool, air hockey, or foos ball in the Break Point Game Room, located in the basement of the Student Commons.
Alongside the fun and relaxed atmosphere that the Student Commons has to offer, there are several great resources located in this building as well. University Counseling Services is located on the second floor while the main level is home to the University Career Center, Disability Support Services, Off-campus Student Services and more!
Stops 11-13: You’ll soon find that Shafer Street serves as one of the main arteries through campus. At the heart of our bustling campus, you’ll find the Compass located between Cabell Library, Hibbs Hall, and Shafer Court Dining Center.
Cabell Library (28): Composed of four floors and a basement, each floor in the library has a designated purpose with its own study rules. Grab a cup of coffee at Starbucks on the first floor (which accepts the VCU meal plan), or hop on one of the computers and print out homework for your next class. The second floor of the library is designed to accommodate group study, formally called the Learning Commons. There are plushy couches and chairs where students can gather with classmates to work on group projects, or group study. There are several portable white boards that students may use for a work space when working in their larger groups. The third floor of the library is designated as a “quiet study: whisper only” area, which is reserved for individual study and smaller collaborative work with no more than 3 people. It is also home to Media and Reserve Services where students can check out digital media for research. The fourth floor of the library is reserved for silent study — no talking is allowed on this floor. The rule for no conversation is enforced by library personnel to ensure that those students who need that quiet space are afforded it. The library holds millions of articles, books, and electronic resources for VCU students, faculty, and staff to use.
Hibbs Hall (29): Home to the Department of English and the University College (UC), Hibbs Hall houses academic services and classroom/lecture hall spaces. First-year students will be able to find their academic advisors on the first floor of Hibbs. They are available to assist with selecting courses each semester, selecting a major, and guiding you through your first year at VCU. You can also take advantage of tutoring services, which are offered at no charge; one-on-one appointment tutoring and drop-in tutoring are available. Additional services offered through the UC include the Writing Center, where consultants offer an additional set of eyes to proofread papers and provide an additional perspective on your work before submission and the Campus Testing Center.
Shafer Court Dining Center (32): Need to grab a quick lunch just before class starts? Want to sit down for dinner with floor mates from your residence hall? Shafer Court Dining Center is the largest dining facility on the Monroe Park Campus. On the first floor, you’ll find Market 810-2-Go and Einstein Brothers Bagels. On the second floor, you’ll find Market 810, Shafer’s main dining room. Meals are served daily, including breakfast, lunch and dinner. Food is served buffet style, with some made to order options as well. For one swipe, students can enjoy a large variety of food options that can be shaped to fit most dietary needs, including vegetarian and vegan.
On August 22 and 23 as you’re heading to your first classes, look for the AskMe booth placed around the Monroe Park Campus; representatives from many of our offices and departments will be staffing these booths and be available to provide assistance as you navigate your way around campus!