The Tower & Girl of UT Austin

UT Austin: “For more than 80 years, the UT Tower has been the academic symbol and architectural emblem of The University of Texas at Austin. The 307-foot-tall Tower … is a commanding symbol of pride on the Austin skyline, especially at night. From its beginning, the Tower has been bathed in a combination of orange and white light to celebrate academic honors and sport victories … Most commonly used, the top glows orange to commemorate regular-season victories or a conference title in any intercollegiate sport, and it stands dark on somber occasions.”

“The Main Building and its tower were originally designed to serve as the campus central library … librarians were stationed on every other floor. They would roller skate to retrieve requested books and send them down to the desk via dumbwaiter to the students below … In recent years, the Main Building has been renewed as space for students. Within the atrium of the Life Sciences Library, freshmen now attend classes in small seminar rooms.”

“Above the Observation Deck are the bells of the Knicker Carillon, which ring on the quarter hour. With 56 bells, the carillon is the largest and heaviest in Texas, with the low B flat 2 bell weighing in at 7,350 pounds and the high G7 a mere 20 pounds … And above the carillon is one final sight to behold, but you’ll need binoculars. The building’s very top is home to a peregrine falcon, nicknamed ‘Tower Girl.’ She is the — ahem — apex predator of the Forty Acres. Tower Girl lives in Austin year round, and this fastest of all animals on Earth can be seen dive-bombing unfortunate grackles, pigeons and other prey.”


College Tour Tips

US News: “The fall months – September through early December – can be extremely busy for high school juniors and seniors … In light of this scheduling load, it might make sense to zip through college tours. Madeline Dyke, a sophomore at Williams College, urges students to do the opposite.” She suggests “that this can include staying in a dorm overnight and sitting in on several classes … attending one or more class sessions, with permission, can inform your understanding of teaching styles at the college or university Similarly, an ‘overnight visit will give students a good idea of the campus culture and social life,’ she says.”

“Alexis Miller, a junior at Indiana University—Bloomington, toured four schools in the fall, including her current collegiate home. She says that it is critical for current high school students to assess colleges with an eye toward the long term … For example, it may be tempting to select the university that houses freshmen in new dorm rooms with semiprivate bathrooms. However, will this ultimately be more valuable than a strong program in your major of interest or access to robust internship offerings?”


Harvey Mudd: STEM ‘Boot Camp’

Business Insider: “Located in Claremont, California is an 829-person liberal arts college that might go unnoticed to the uninitiated. It’s not a member of the Ivy League, nor does it have the celebrity of Stanford University, its neighbor to the north. In fact, if you’re not familiar with the Claremont Consortium, you’ve probably never heard of the school. Harvey Mudd College is a STEM powerhouse. It routinely shows up on lists that rank the best value colleges and, based on median salary, its graduates out-earn those from Harvard and Stanford about 10 years into their careers.”

“Mudd embraces its academic rigor and describes its core curriculum as a ‘boot camp in the STEM disciplines — math, physics, chemistry, biology, computer science, and engineering — as well as classes in writing and critical inquiry’ that it says ‘gives students a broad scientific foundation and the skills to think and to solve problems across disciplines’.”

“Every entering student must take a computer science class, a rare requirement for a liberal arts college. But Mudders must also graduate with a strong liberal-arts background, taking just as many courses in the humanities as they must in core introductory courses in the sciences.”


‘Hotel at Oberlin’ Reflects College’s Values

The New York Times: “Oberlin, like many other colleges and universities around the country, has decided that campus guest quarters, instead of perfunctory, can become pampering places that help promote the institution’s brand and image.”The Hotel at Oberlin “was designed to be one of the most environmentally sustainable hotels in the world. It has earned platinum-level status under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification system used by the U.S. Green Building Council.”

“Even guests who might be oblivious to the hotel’s solar, geothermal and radiant cooling and heating systems might have trouble overlooking amenities that chain hotels would not think to offer for rooms starting at $129 a night.For example, soap dishes in each room are made by a local glassblower. Shampoos and lotions are locally produced and made with all-natural ingredients. And the food at 1833 Restaurant, the hotel’s dining facility, is locally grown as much as possible.”

Mike Frandsen of Oberlin comments: “One of the objectives we had going into this was communicating Oberlin’s core values. So if we didn’t pick out the soap dishes and the picture frames, we did make a conscious decision to work with people who understood that sustainability is something we value here at Oberlin, and a big part of our story.”