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Thursday, October 5, 2023


UH ponders the beauty of campus in vain


David Delgado // The Daily Cougar

I usually feel like a parent with a newborn baby when it comes to pride for my campus: my baby is beautiful, even if everyone else believes it looks like a boiled tomato.

UH is often looked down upon by outsiders for its location within Houston, but coming from a student living in a city primarily composed of concrete, UH has many small things to offer aesthetically.

If one decides to take an early morning or late evening stroll around campus, a few things cross the average student’s mind. While the immediate thought may be of safety and how the rustling of leaves and twigs slightly resembles something from a horror movie, the thoughts that follow may be of appreciation.

The Houston sky tends to have this purplish hue because of the close proximity of the downtown skyline; no, it may not have a plethora of stars, but the semi-mystical air that it gives the city is beautiful. We have the beautiful kaleidoscope-like spiral sculpture “A, A” in front of the M.D. Anderson Memorial Library that has words from great pieces of literature stenciled into it.

I appreciate and recognize all that UH has to offer, but despite everything that’s been stated, I also recognize our University probably stands small in comparison to the thousands of other colleges in the nation that also offer gorgeous campuses.

However, it now seems that a particular blog found UH’s fountains and sculptures to be so captivating that it featured our campus above many others.

In February, a blog called ProFascinate featured UH on the list of “Top 10 Most Beautiful College Campuses,” sitting at a proud — yet astonishing — number three. While the creator of this list has no credibility to establish a reliable list, it didn’t stop news outlets like the Houston Chronicle and Houston Culture Map from stating their opinions on this.

Elizabeth Rhodes of Houston Culture Map is one of the people who believe UH is undeserving of this title — despite the fact that she is a Cougar. She blames a huge part of UH’s unattractiveness on the constant construction surrounding our University.

“I know construction is only a temporary problem that will ultimately lead to more beautiful buildings, and I would have no problem with the school being named ‘Most Beautiful’ when it’s all finished — but not now,” Rhodes said.

Kinesiology sophomore Jose Garcia agrees that on the list of most beautiful colleges, UH just does not compare.

“I’ve been to other campuses all around the nation, and UH doesn’t even rival to others. Definitely not top three in the nation,” Garcia said. “I’ve been to San Jose State, Stanford, Cornell, Princeton and Saint John’s University and (their campuses) are way above us. It’s more natural there.”

Garcia, like Rhodes, also realizes that our looks are, in large part, diminished by construction. Less construction would give UH a good chance at being legitimately recognized, he said.

However, there are students who believe UH’s beauty is not difficult to find.

For example, we have the fountains in front of the Roy G. Cullen Building that provide a nice space for students to relax during the day — that is, when it’s not freezing in March. Not to mention, we have the newly constructed areas in front of the New UC and C.T. Bauer College of Business that add light and greenery to our campus.

Then there are the structures that stand as a testament to our educational progression and our ability to find even more places to fall asleep in. Buildings like the A.D. Bruce Religion Center, the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture, the Cullen College of Engineering 1, the Lyndall Finley Wortham Theatre and the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center are just some of the buildings pleasing to behold.

Biochemistry senior Chaya Traxler sees the University’s campus for all it has to offer.

“I absolutely love it. (The campus) is my style in the sense that there are so many places to walk,” Traxler said. “It has an industry feel to it, with people who are fast-paced and usually going somewhere.”

Traxler does recognize that the campus could use some landscaping, but she said she has never felt like our campus is ugly.

“I think that a lot of the beauty is truly from within,” Traxler said. “UH is just as pretty as any other campus, but the truth is that it comes with time. You learn to appreciate (the campus) with time, and you find your spots to hang out at … It might not have the same aesthetics of Rice University, but it is home.”

When I first heard we were placed on the list — however unofficial it may be — I was surprised but pleasantly pleased that someone else found our campus beautiful.

I do agree that the construction surrounding our campus is less than appealing, but construction is a sure sign of progression. Therefore, I generally don’t mind the restrictive fenced areas.

Understandably, there are certain areas of UH that could use a little TLC — such as the flower beds in front of the library — but I don’t think it keeps UH from being beautiful. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter whether a random blog believes UH has a beautiful campus.

As long as we believe our screaming, wrinkly, red-faced baby is pretty, it’s pretty.

Senior staff columnist Kelly Schafler is a print journalism junior and may be reached at [email protected] 

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