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Then vs. Now

A Look at Changes for OttawaU

By Danika Good
On February 18, 2016

OTTAWA--In just four years at Ottawa University, the campus underwent a transformation that made it almost unrecognizable to those who have not been around recently. The seniors on campus have had the chance to see a fair share of changes in their four or more years here. But for those who haven’t, here is a rundown of some changes from the perspective of a fourth-year senior.

Three years ago, the tennis teams were the new kids on campus. Everyone was excited about watching this new team, until realizing they had to leave campus to watch them play. (Which reminds me, where are those new, on-campus tennis courts I was promised when I signed to play here?)

Two years ago, they added men’s and women’s wrestling teams. While many people did not know anything about wrestling, the coach was smart enough to provide an informational flyer on “how to watch wrestling” during their first season, which was extremely helpful. They also added the option to major in engineering and the first building of University Apartments.

Last year did not include a lot of new people, but new buildings instead. The old Union was gone and the new cafeteria, now called Hetrick Bistro, went up.

There is a lot of newness this year, as the campus welcomed a men’s volleyball team and men’s and women’s lacrosse. Many were excited to learn more and are now anticipating the first home lacrosse games.

The most obvious change on campus was the Gibson Student Center. Where this magnificent building now stands was once the home of the Mowbray Union. It had the same functions as the student center now has, but it was about half the size and nowhere near as pretty.

That building, which appeared to come straight out of the 1970s, housed the cafeteria, snack bar, mailroom, bookstore, health services, lobby area and a set of unpopular conference rooms.

Having this huge new “student center,” with four conference rooms and fancy technology, is one of the greatest things about the new campus.

The old cafeteria was nothing like the new open-all-day, food court-style cafeteria we have now.

Picture this: You got out of class at 11:50 a.m. Perfect, the cafeteria was open from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., so you had plenty of time to eat lunch. You walked over to the old Union, only to see a line of students that ran from the food line inside the cafeteria all the way through the lobby and to the front doors.

Because the cafeteria was only open for a specific time, everyone was there at the same time, and lines were inevitable. It wasn’t uncommon for people to be lined up before the doors even opened.

Fortunately, every line was all-you-could-eat, but some days the options were pretty slim. The main line, equivalent to the new Martha’s Kitchen, usually contained something that looked questionable and tasted even more questionable.

The grill line, equivalent to the new Gibbys’ Grill, consisted of burnt pizza and burgers with overly toasted, hardened buns.

The action station (only open at lunch) was equivalent to the Chef’s Table at the Bistro. This line was kind of hit-and-miss but was usually the best option in the room.

You knew it was a bad day when there were lines at the all-you-could-eat cereal bar and salad bar.

And let’s not forget the dessert piano. Yes, dessert piano. A baby grand piano, painted white, sat between the salad bar and action station, and was home to whatever dessert Sodexo decided to feature that day. Be it pie, cookies, cake, ice cream toppings, apple cobbler or some other concoction, it made dessert a safe option, too.

The Snack Bar was like a little restaurant separate from the cafeteria. It was open all day but only served items such as burgers, mozzarella sticks and coffee. Food from the Snack Bar was almost always good but not usually healthy.

The library is another huge upgrade to this campus. The old Myers Library was all the way across campus, not close to anything. Which made the walking distance miserable in the winter.

All of those study rooms around the current library did not exist. There were two large, lounge-type rooms in the old library that were usually taken.

While there was always an open space and really good wi-fi in the old library, there wasn’t a lot of privacy because it was basically one big open room.

This campus has seen many changes over the last 150 years, and as it continues to change and grow, it seems like there is no better time to be a Brave. 

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