Yesterday, as I was driving across campus from dropping L off at the lab, it was early enough that I didn't have to watch too carefully for students darting across the streets. It makes me smile, just a bit, to think that the kiddos are like squirrels, except that the University squirrels know better than to run into the road without looking.
I was thinking about how many roads now have buildings in the middle of them. By that, I mean that the University built all these roads to connect the campus and then decided that 1) it was too connected to be safe for foot traffic and 2) they needed the space for new engineering buildings and rehab/expansion of some old ones. If we're going to cram 30K people onto this campus by 2015, we've got to put them somewhere. Don't know who will teach them, but at least they'll have a nice room to sit in.
I saw a crane over what was the other half of the road I was traveling and thought about these radical changes. People that went to school here back when I was in my first go-round can't believe how much it's changed, and they can hardly navigate campus when they get off the main drag.
But one thing that never changes is seeing students walk or ride bikes to class with large packs on their backs. I love that. I love to see the engineering students with their T-squares poking awkwardly out of their packs and an armload of drafting supplies. There goes an art student with an enormous portfolio case and a music student with an instrument case. The beauty, beyond the fact that they carry tools of the subject they love, is that their hands are too full with real world stuff to bother with cell phones. These overburdened ones don't have the finger and hand availability to text or chat as they walk, and so they look up. They watch where they're going. They observe. They learn. I love that.