Article & Photos by Mikayla Mann
We’re all aware of the popular belief that Harvey Mudd College is one of the ugliest campuses in the nation. It did rank second on Travel and Leisure’s 2013 list of “America’s Ugliest College Campuses,” after all. But what isn’t there to be charmed by? Brutalist, utilitarian architecture made of cold bricks and rough concrete, warts sticking out of the walls… All right, maybe our campus aesthetics are an acquired taste. I won’t waste this article trying to convince you of how the immediately eye-grabbing architecture has its “own unique charm.” But there are lots of amazing parts of Mudd that aren’t immediately obvious from your first visit on campus. So while I’m reluctant to give up my insider info on beautiful spaces tucked away inside Mudd’s campus, I feel like it must be shared. Because where better to get away and work on that particularly difficult HSA reading than a scenic, aesthetically-pleasing hiding place?
1 | Hixon Court
First off, we have my favorite spot to go after my first class in the morning, with a chai tea latte in one hand and a breakfast sandwich from the Cafe in the other. Just head west and down the stairs into the Hixon Courtyard outside Galileo Hall. You’ll find a peacefully burbling fountain (surprise! with koi fish in it) and tables and chairs scattered around. It’s very green and filled with dappled sunlight if you can catch it at the right time in the morning, and I always feel like my productivity increases by about 500% when I’m working there. (Definitely not because I’m imagining myself in a day-in-the-life college vlog…)
2 | Shanahan Third Floor
Another beautiful environment at Mudd, if you have the leg strength and willpower to climb up three flights of stairs, is the patio outside the Skycube on third floor Shan. It has a rustic aesthetic, with outdoor string lights, wood tables, and comfortable benches. The futuristic, slightly transparent boards act as a perfect medium for solving problems or drawing on. The whole area is encompassed by plants on the outer edge — including trees with huge lemons hanging from the branches that you may or may not be allowed to pick.
3 | Outdoor Tables
A recent addition to my favorite places around Mudd is the area between Atwood and Case. Its rows of tables are perfect for working outside, especially now that the balmy SoCal weather is making its return for springtime. I always feel happier and more productive when I sit outside to do homework with a speaker playing sunny tunes, and these tables are perfect for meeting your friends in the outer dorms! Beware of the umbrellas, though; they have a tendency to bend super easily. And make sure to bring a power bank!
4 | Orange Tree Grove
If you choose to venture behind Olin, you may just run into Mudd’s small orange tree grove. My orientation mentor introduced me to this spot during orientation, but not many people are aware of it. In the center is a rectangular, shallow pool of water that’s surrounded by benches. It’s the perfect little spot for getting away from the bustle and stress of Ac End, having a deep conversation, or just immersing yourself in nature.
5 | Green Room
The final tucked-away spot on Mudd campus is for all of my musically- inclined readers. In a room adjacent to Platt, just next to the bathrooms, you’ll find a grand, spacious room that almost feels like a ballroom. It’s perfect for waltzing around at all hours of the night (no, I’m definitely not speaking from experience). Nestled in the corner is a piano that’s open for use at all hours — just follow the melodies, and before you know it, you’ll be in the Green Room!
For those who are looking for a new study space, those hoping to uncover more of Mudd’s secrets, or those just dying to explore, I hope these “nooks and crannies” of Mudd will inspire you to love our campus even more than you already do. And even if they don’t, you know you can at least count on those steadfast, reliable warts.