The University of Oregon is a place full of life and spirit. The first couple of weeks you are on campus is when the beauty of the school starts to become evident. Oregon gets a bad reputation for having so much rain, but the great part about the rain is that it makes everything so green- walking to class, it feels like you are in a forest and getting a hug from Mother Nature. When the sun does decide to come out, everyone welcomes it with open arms by attempting to do as much as they possibly can outside. Students lie out in the sun doing homework, others frolic around throwing a ball or Frisbee, while endless amounts of bikers speed by. You can feel and see the sun giving everyone energy. Being at the University of Oregon during the spring quarter is so incredible; the sun is out more, so people are out more. After a long rainy winter, the short sleeves get pulled out and so do inner tubes. Just five minutes from campus is the Willamette River where students go any chance they can to sit by the water and hang out or wade in the water in their inner tubes.
While the spring term is filled with outdoor activities, so is the fall term but for a completely different reason. In the fall, regardless of the weather, if it is a football game day the streets are filled with green and yellow. All throughout the day herds of fans make the walk from campus across the Willamette River to Autzen Stadium. Game days at the University of Oregon are filled with joy and camaraderie. It was during my first game day that I fell in love with The University of Oregon. The spirit is just contagious. Everyone has a smile on his or her face and the sound of excited students yelling, “Sco Ducks”, (slurring together of let’s go Ducks), fills the air throughout the whole day. On game days, “Sco Ducks” replaces normal greetings like “hello”; instead, when anyone walks past each other on the street, even on the other side of the street, this greeting is cheered back and forth. When the Oregon ducks are playing football, the town of Eugene seems to put everything else aside- even some stores close for the game. That is what makes Oregon so special; the town is spirited and incredibly supportive of the school.
Eugene is a town that will never stop surprising you. Driving through the streets, which in itself is a difficult task due to all the one-way streets and dedicated bus and bike lanes, you stumble upon random little things, like houses with sunflowers painted all over the outside or houses that were converted into tea parlors and secret gardens with amazing views of the town. When I find these hidden treasures instantly, “Only in Eugene” rushes through my mind as a small smile forms on my face. There are places to go within five minutes of campus that will make you feel like you are in the middle of a forest or stumbled into the book “Where the Wild Things Are”. The feeling of being in Eugene is somewhat indescribable; imagine being in a quirky town, filled with the kindest people, who all seem so relaxed while surrounded by enormous trees and green grass with a hint of school spirit always hanging around. If you can imagine that, then you have probably been to Eugene.
Besides the amazing scenery and the fascinating culture that the town has, the campus has a very special treat for the students during the fall and spring term. Perfectly placed in between spirited game days, the campus plays host to the Fall Term Street Fair and Spring Term Street Fair. Vendors from all over Oregon come out and bring the students delicious food like Oreo dipped ice cream bars, snow cones, elephant ears, gyros, BBQ and so much more that will make your mouth water. But don’t worry; the food only makes up half of it. Students can buy jewelry, tapestries, posters and all types of unique clothes. The street fairs are a dreamland with all the food and goods you could ever ask for, enlivening our campus for three days twice a year.
The University of Oregon is a place where just walking to class makes you feel like a part of something bigger, part of a family. Before coming to The University of Oregon, all I would ever hear is that everyone who went absolutely loved it and I always wondered what could trigger such loyalty. Once I got here, I was able to understand. You are embedded into the college culture; everywhere you go there are other college students around. There is a strong sense of community and an overwhelming feeling of school spirit. Add in the amazing natural beauty and its obvious how this new town turns into your new home.
Contributed by Lauren Johnson, University of Oregon.
*Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.com