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A Sense of Place
Photographs and interviews by Lindsay Muetterties ’08

For her senior independent study with Professor Thomas Greene in psychology, Lindsay Muetterties ’08, of Media, Pa., distributed a survey asking students, faculty and administrators about their “sense of place” on St. Lawrence University’s campus. She then photographed selected respondents “in place.” The following is a representative adaptation of both the replies and her pictures.                                 
--The Editors

The Questions:

  1. To what location on St. Lawrence University’s campus (other than a residence hall) do you have a sense of attachment or belonging (building or not)?
  1. What are some of your experiences at this place that give it meaning?
  1. What is it about this particular place that you find special or unique?
  1. What are some of the qualities about this place that you would like to preserve or keep as they are now? 
  1. How does it feel to think about future generations of students being at this particular place?
  1. Are there any particular people/persons that affect your connection to this place?

Nana Kwasi Osei-Kusi ’09

Accra, Ghana
I eat in the Student Center, play ping pong, meet friends, study and reflect. I enjoy it particularly at night when it’s quiet and I am able to study and reflect peacefully on the third floor. I cherish the conversations with my friends and the time we’ve spent together there.

Isaac Noyes ’08

Hyde Park, Vermont
I have a strong sense of attachment to Newell athletic facilities, particularly the Time Out Café. I will always remember eating lunch and catching up with old friends, conversations with SLU athletics legend Bob Axtell, and picking up our bag lunches before departing for ski carnivals during the winter race season.  I hope that the staff and the quality of food stay the same, but also that the friendly atmosphere that truly helps you enjoy and remember an experience as simple as a meal doesn't change either.

Kalie Dunn ’08

Yarmouth, Maine
I have run, as well as walked, the trails along the river and the Kip Tract, and they are really peaceful and comforting to me. The sun gleaming off of the water makes it a really warm place to me. It makes me happy to know that future generations will also find comfort in this place and go there to seek refuge or peace, as I have over the years.
Sara Tully ’08
Rochester, New York
I feel a sense of belonging in the psych majors’ room in Flint Hall, not just because of the amount of time that I have spent in it, but also because of the impact that I have had on it. The room was very unwelcoming when I was an underclassman, so (as a senior) I took the initiative to change it.  (We obtained) more comfortable seating and a fridge, and (arranged to have) it stay open in the evening for student use. Some professors told me that I should bring a sleeping bag and pillow and make this room my second home because they see me in there all day long.

Todd Loffredo ’08

Saratoga Springs, New York
The place on campus that I have a huge attachment to is the Ireland Room in the Noble Center. I go there to be alone and concentrate on homework or just vegetate and do nothing. This place is very simple and kind of isolated and it is very comfortable.
Nancy Decker ’11
Stratham, New Hampshire
I feel very attached to Griffiths and the Noble Center. I work there, in the Costume Shop, about 20 hours a week and feel like I spend more time there than in my own room. Swing Club meets there, and it has the general vibe that most theaters have--if you are there long enough you are eventually part of the special group that doesn't just see the shows but has had a part in creating them.

Thomas Greene

Professor of Psychology
I planted spring bulbs and summer perennials outside of my office window, and each year the outgoing TAs each make a stepping stone with some objects of their choice embedded, so it represents a history of the lab (at least since 2001).
My building choice is Herring-Cole. I love the combination of old wood and stone and stained glass.  And I love its continuity; I doubt that my garden will be maintained after I leave.

Alan Lockard

Visiting Assistant Professor of Economics
Herring-Cole, (especially during) Drum Circles and spiritual gatherings.  Sometimes when drumming we can hear voices joining in.
Erika L. Barthelmess
Associate Professor of Biology / Co-Coordinator of African Studies
I feel attached to Johnson Hall of Science, particularly my lab space and office, (and) to the Kip Tract, particularly the porcupine hangouts there.  I still feel attached to the area next to Herring-Cole that used to be occupied by some of the only large American chestnut trees still around.  My lab is where I get to spend a lot of time with my students, especially my senior research students; it is like our little den.  In the woods, I get to work with porcupines, who I love studying; I like to be in their homes to think about how they live their lives.  The chestnut tree site is a reminder of the damage humans can cause to the natural world, the resilience of nature, and the fact that the world changes with time.

Tom Coakley  
Vice President for Administrative Operations
Appleton Arena has provided a lifetime of experiences as different as one could possibly imagine. Growing up in Canton, my first memory of Appleton is as a 7-year-old arriving with my mother for my first official Pee Wee hockey "practice."  We arrived with two left skates and...well ...made the best of it.  As a family we attended virtually every SLU home hockey game. In those pre-teen years, events in Appleton during the summer brought the community together for good times. 

As I grew older I practiced with the high school hockey team at Appleton every morning at 5:30.  I missed the experience of returning home to play in Appleton when I played for Brown University.  Our schedules never created that opportunity.

The next Appleton event was in stark contrast to the fun of my youth.  Upon returning from Vietnam wounded and missing a leg, I agreed to speak out against the war at an anti-war rally.  I remember climbing the stairs on crutches with no artificial leg in place as yet.  I remember staring at the audience and I remember absolutely nothing that I may have said.

I recall many hours of ice time coaching my own kids in Appleton.  I have great memories of watching our son Sean ’01 playing in goal for St. Lawrence.  And Appleton is the place my wife, Nellie M’85, retreats to for her daily hour walks in inclement weather.  Some days that is the only time we get to talk if I'm willing and able to keep up with her.

Overseeing the investment in and renovation of Appleton over the years has been especially rewarding given my personal history. I hope we can pass on a building and an equally important program that will continue to appeal to our community.

Baylor Johnson

Associate Professor of Philosophy and Director of Outdoor Studies
The Kip Tract path, the Sand Banks and the "Old Campus" area.  I love the irregular, "English" landscaping of the old campus as opposed to the regular, "French" landscaping that is being imposed on the campus more often now.  I like to think that future students will enjoy these places as I have, and that perhaps they will even occasionally wonder who else has known these places and what they have felt there, as I do.

Anne Townsend
Project Director, Garner Center for Volunteerism (retired)
The Noble Center (when it was the Student Center).  My office was located in the lobby when I was hired, and where I "lived" a great deal of my 12 years as student activities director.  Being in the lobby, as small and intimate as it was, gave me immediate access to students.  Connecting with so many of them helped shape the way I worked with students these last 19 years.

The Noble Center has become a magnificent arts center.  I like the fact that it didn't die with the building of the new Student Center.  Instead, it's evolved into a new creative and vibrant incarnation.

Paul Stowe

Senior Programmer/Analyst, Information Technology
Gunnison Memorial Chapel. My daughter, Krista ’05, played the chapel bells and performed there as a member of the Laurentian Singers. Graduation is also nearby, almost like incorporating the chapel.  I feel a sense of history, spirituality here.  SLU was founded as a Universalist seminary, and the chapel represents that legacy. It gives me a sense of being part of a living history.
Peg Cornwell ’79
The bench outside of Richardson Hall that faces the Quad. When Grant [Cornwell ’79, now president of the College of Wooster] and I arrived here 22 years ago with our 2-week-old son, Grant brought Tanner and me to that bench.  His intention was to mark our arrival by saying, “Here we are, starting our new life in a familiar place.” I worked in Richardson for many years and each time I looked out of the window I remembered that very special day.  It is also one of my favorite spots to stand for the alumni parade.  And it is a great sunrise spot. Beyond the campus I can see the foothills of the Adirondacks, another place that is very much the center of my heart and soul.

Deena Giltz McCullough ’84

Even though it did not exist when I was on campus in the ’80s, the Student Center, where we have Alumni Executive Council meetings--I love the vitality of the building. There is always something going on, people coming and going, an opportunity to run into someone I have not seen in a while, or sit for a cup of coffee and a visit.

Louise Gava ’07

Sustainability Coordinator
The bird blind on the Kip Tract is where I learned to sketch birds, the first place I realized that I had never really looked at a bird before and didn't know what even the most common species that I can identify by sound look like. This is a place where you can be apart from the pace of the rest of the world, slow down and take in details.

Alex Kirby Taylor ’89

Immediate Past Alumni Council President
For me the whole SLU campus is special and unique. The sounds of squeaky snow and chapel bells, the bright sun on the snow on a super cold day, the whiteboards on the dorm room doors are a little more special to me, but are components of the big picture. I think it is important to keep the historic area in open space where Laurentians can relax and enjoy the changing seasons.

Stephen Todd ’92

I have a strong sense of attachment to Gunnison Memorial Chapel. I was a Laurentian Singer and a member of the Chapel Choir, and many of our concerts were there.  I also remember the Candlelight Services.  Friends have been married there, I've heard some amazing speakers there, and every year I attend the Service of Remembrance there.  Much of our history is preserved in the stained glass windows.  It feels good to know that future generations of Laurentians will have a space so solidly grounded in that history and tradition.


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