Hidden Gems on Campus 

Dylan Enerson, Reporter

When I lived in Noren Hall, I did not explore a lot of the other side of campus. It was a lot of work getting over there and almost all my classes were in, and around, the aviation buildings, so I did not have many reasons to go to the east side of campus. Plus, why leave the dorms when TV and video games are so easily accessible from home? Now that I have moved out of the dorms and into an apartment, oddly, I am spending a lot more time walking around and exploring campus. Since I need to drive all the way across town, it is a lot harder for me to go home in between classes so I must find things to entertain myself while on campus. This has led me to find a few places I never knew we had at UND.  

One thing I have found on campus is that it is way better for me to study there rather than at home. When I am at home, it is a lot easier for me to get distracted on my desktop or with the TV than when I am on campus and the only things I can do are productive. Sometimes I need a quiet place to study because I forgot my earbuds at home, so I have had to go looking around for study areas. I ended up finding that a lot of the buildings on campus have study rooms and most of the time at least one of them is open. The one place that usually has a study room open is the Chester Fritz Library. The library has a ton of study rooms scattered around the building and you can use them for pretty much any school related project you have. There are study rooms with whiteboards for thought organization, flat screens to put a class video up on, and all the outlets you will need for your devices. Not to mention the ground floor of the library has a small café with vending machines loaded with UND made sandwiches, wraps, noodle dishes, and a large selection of snacks so that you do not have to travel out into the North Dakota cold to get food from the Union.  

Another cool thing I found at the library that I wish I was creative enough to take advantage of is the AI/VR Lab located on the third floor of the library. This lab has everything you need to create 3D models and even whole VR games in the lab plus the hardware required to test them. It also has a suite of software dedicated to this already preinstalled on the high-end computers that allows you to create whatever you can think of in 3D space. This is a space for UND students and faculty to be able to explore and create virtual software and use the AI algorithms both for research for class and creative endeavors. There are even full VR walking machines set up so that you have full mobility while in the VR environment. This is one of the most premium pieces of VR equipment you can have, so it is awesome that UND has it set up for students to use both in and out of class.  

Speaking of games, if you have not checked it out yet, there is also the Nexus E-Sports center in the Wellness Center. If you just have a lightweight laptop you bought for school or you did not bring your gaming desktop all the way to campus, you can go to the Nexus to get your fill of gaming. They have tons of gaming desktops set up for students to use, and with an account for the games service, Steam, you can use the cloud feature to continue the saved data from your own computer at home. The computers at the Nexus can play nearly all the newest games, so even if you did bring your own desktop to school if it is older, the desktops at the Nexus may even be able to outperform that. Not to mention the Wellness Center also has console reservation that you can use to rent a gaming console for your own use. All you must do is fill out the reservation form on the Wellness Center website a week in advance and make sure you return it by the day listed, and as long as there is not an event being held that needs those consoles, you can check out some Nintendo Switch’s or a PlayStation 4 to play with some of your friends or just catch up on some games you have not played in a little bit.  

If you are just looking for somewhere to walk around, there are a couple of places on campus. At the Union, you can always check out the newest art exhibit at the Memorial Union Gallery, or MUG, which hosts roughly four to five different exhibitions throughout the year, changing around every 90 days. The exhibits will rotate through UND art students, staff, and other visiting artists and alumni. It is a great way to experience great pieces of art without having to travel too far away from University Avenue if you are there already for a class or just hanging out. The Union also has the entire lower level full of seating areas and things to do with some friends after class. There are table games and seating areas directly underneath the large TV at the Social Stairs. I have sat down there a few times eating food I brought from home and studying or just watching the TV from the stairs. Last time I was there, they had a game show playing I had not seen, so that was a good way to entertain myself while waiting for a friend.  

If the MUG does not fill your artistic curiosity, you can check out the North Dakota Museum of Art located on the south end of campus. This museum also features a rotating set of exhibitions and offers free admission for guests to experience the artwork featured there along with a café open on weekdays 11AM to 3PM. You will have to pay for passport parking on weekdays until 4:30PM, but weekend parking is free. If you have a UND student pass, the closest student pass parking would be at the Chester Fritz Auditorium parking lot with walking paths connecting to the Museum. This is a good way to get out of the house or apartment and walk outside with the weather warming up around campus after the last blistering week of cold that we were tasked with surviving.  

If you are looking for some help with your professional development, make an appointment at OneStop Career Services. Career Services offers a huge handful of services to students and alumni from UND for any point in their professional life. I know of people that still use Career Services over 20 years after graduating UND. They can help you find a new internship or job, write a new resume, give practice interviews, and a lot more. All you must do to set up an appointment is select Career Services from Starfish and make an appointment through that.   

One more hidden gem I have found that a surprising amount of flight students did not know about was the VR flight simulator located in Odegard Hall. The systems there are free for student use, as opposed to the full simulators in Ryan Hall which you need to be in a flight course with a CFI and pay for while using, so the VR simulators are a much more cost-effective way to practice a few flight maneuvers or familiarize yourself with the planes used in the flight courses especially for new flight students. There is also a center stick flight simulator that can be used to simulate helicopters and fighter jets that I have used once to great enjoyment. The employees working there are always willing to help you familiarize yourself with the controls and were a great help when I was learning how to fly a plane at UND. My first time using the VR simulator was one of the best ways to make every mistake possible before getting on a real plane. In fact, I think I only crashed once that day. 


Dylan Enerson is a Dakota Student General Reporter. He can be reached at [email protected].