Secret Things on Campus

Donovan Maudsley - 4A Mechanical
Posted on: October 14, 2017

The University of Waterloo campus is a dense maze of buildings, passages and patios, many of which are unknown to the casual visitor. While there are the obvious hot spots, the E5 – E3 skybridge or POETS, many students can go their whole stay at Waterloo without discovering everything there is to know about campus, or even one building. For example, yesterday I found out that there are vending machines all the way upstairs in E5. I had been walking all the way to E2 all term just for a drink. In the following article I’m going to cover some essentials for anyone who wants to use campus effectively: where to get coffee, where to study and meet with groups, where to shower, how to shortcut properly, and East Campus Hall, the most obscure building on campus.

Everyone has been there. Walking to that 8:30 class and knowing that the line at Tim’s will take at least 20 minutes so you don’t even bother. It’s just not worth it. There is another way though. Campus is actually riddled with little cafes and coffee shops where you can get your early morning after Bomber Wednesday/late night working with a student team/been doing a work term report for 12 hours straight caffeine fix. The obvious locales are the campus Tim Horton’s (SLC, DC, SLC again, SCH, UWP, DC again) and don’t overlook the one in Modern Languages over in the arts quad, as it is small but mighty. Next most obvious would be the actual Food Services locations like Pastry Plus (B.C. Mathews Hall, Needles Hall, or The Tatham Center but only during interview season), Liquid Assets Cafe in Hagey Hall, Eye Opener Cafe in Optometry (well played Food Services), Browsers Cafe in DP, the CIET cafe near the dinosaurs,  and the Modern Language’s coffee shop. There’s more though. Willam’s has a location on the ground floor of EV3, and is in the plaza right next to E5. There’s a Starbucks in STC, as you are probably aware. There’s one at AHS as well, in addition to a ‘frsh’ restaurant serving smoothies and burritos. Last up are some people’s favorite places in the world: the departmental Coffee & Doughnut stores. EngSOC’s store is in CPH beside POETS, MathSOC runs theirs out of the third floor of MC (right next to their awesomely comfy lounge), and SciSOC’s is in Biology 1 or 2 right by the door under the overpass to Earth Sciences. Finally, there is a small Cafe in Environment 1, on the first floor. It’s pretty sweet.

But coffee has no real meaning without somewhere to study with it. It may seem like there’s never enough room to study on campus, but you just need to know where. There are the obvious choices like the libraries and computer labs, but they’re always busy and sometimes way too loud (looking at you Gear Lab). The Tatham Center and Environment 3 both have rooms available to rent for studying, but they can get filled up fast. MC, that big building you hate from all those first year climbs up its stairs, actually has some really nice areas to work up above the fourth floor. There’s even a rooftop garden up there in the summertime. EIT is also a hotspot for studiers in the museum area with the dinosaurs. There’s comfy chairs and lots of space. Lastly, for group meetings the PAC has a good reputation. The areas up high have tons of seating, and no one cares if you’re loud at all because it’s the gym.

Waterloo also has a surprising amount of showers in case of emergency. Whether you got attacked by a goose (it happens to everyone), slipped trying to take a shortcut in the rain, or just skipped your morning routine when you woke up 2 minutes before a lecture started, Waterloo has you covered. E3, E6, M3, the QNC, CIF, and the PAC all have showers in them; you just have to find them.

Another kind of showers Waterloo endures frequently is rain showers, but these can be easily avoided if you know how. For those with a knack for navigating the tunnels and bridges throughout campus, it’s possible to get almost everywhere. For those without, there’s an app for that. WATisRain is a great, student made tool for getting around campus. Somebody actually went out and did all the research for you and made a totally accessible android app for those who aren’t a living map. It has maps and directions to get you to where you need to go. Unfortunately WATisRain has not been updated in a while, but most of its advice is still accurate.

Lastly I have five things you probably didn’t know about East Campus Hall, the strangely useful building way out there. Firstly, it exists. There’s more out past E5 than just E6 and construction. That building that you didn’t really notice at first, that kind of blends in to the parking lot, and doesn’t look at all like its neighbours, that’s ECH. ECH houses many administrative offices for UW, from shipping and receiving to various financial offices, but it’s also home to a few really cool things. Every month they hold a surplus sale, including computer parts and various office supplies. That new monitor you want might not be entirely out of reach. The details can be found online. ECH is also home to Waterloo’s fine arts department, and they have an art gallery (UWAG) on the first floor of ECH. The office for independent studies is also on the first floor, just down from the art gallery. Finally, ECH has an overflow student machine shop, which will be opened to take overflow from the E5 machine shop when it gets busy.

The UWaterloo campus is definitely a maze, but it’s a maze that many of us love coming to and that we love to be lost in. Hopefully some of the secret things presented here will make your time here that much more enjoyable.