Going Past the Bridge: Exploring Emory’s Campus

By: Aishwarya Iyer

Once you go to campus for the first time, you’ll realize that Rollins is pretty separate from the rest of Emory’s campus. It’s easy to stay in the Rollins bubble and spend all your time studying in CNR, GCR, the skybridge, or the courtyard (that is, if you’re a “study on campus” kind of person in the first place). But one of the joys of my time here as an MPH student has been exploring the rest of campus and making the most of all the amazing facilities and spaces here. Emory’s campus is very pretty, and it’s worth taking the time to explore and enjoy it while you’re here. After all, as our dear friend Joanne Williams from Student Engagement says, “this is what your tuition dollars are paying for, so use it!” Here’s a list of my favorite spots:

  1. Woodruff Health Sciences Center Library: if you’re tired of studying at Rollins but don’t feel like walking the bridge to the other side of campus, this is a nice study spot to change things up. Located right before the bridge, it’s quiet and great for focused studying/writing. My favorite spots to sit are on your right as soon as you enter the library—I have yet to explore the upper floors.
  2. Alumni Memorial University Center (AMUC): the AMUC has been one of my favorite lesser-known spots to visit on campus, thanks to the newly designed Identity Spaces. There’s Centro Latinx, EBSU, the Asian Student Center, Center for Women, and the Office of LGBT Life. It’s an amazing project Emory has spearheaded to create spaces where folks who belong to these various identities can gather, and I was fortunate enough to be involved in the planning as a Student Ambassador. The real project is creating larger versions of these AMUC student identity spaces in Cox Hall, which will be completed and unveiled sometime in 2023 (Fall 2023 projected), so future generations of Rollins students, please go and enjoy these work/study/chill spaces on my behalf. But for now, the AMUC spaces are also delightful and worth visiting—there’s plenty of outlets and comfy or study-conducive seating, and there’s almost always snacks and coffee/tea!
  3. Emory Student Center (ESC): the perfect central focal point for campus, the ESC is located right by the WoodPEC (gym) and the AMUC. There’s plenty of indoor and outdoor seating options, so you can visit a dozen times and still never get tired of studying here. Outside, in addition to tables and chairs, they have a few of those loungy things where you can sit with your legs fully extended (I don’t know the technical term for these). Inside, there’s several floors of seating to choose from, as well as the Eagle Emporium, a convenience store open late (remember those from undergrad?) that sells food, ice cream, and Emory merch.
  4. Kaldi’s @ the Emory Student Center (ESC): now hear me out. I know everyone tends to go to the Depot, probably because it’s closer to Rollins (just past and under the bridge linking Rollins to the med school and undergrad campus), but the ESC is less than 5 minutes further and it’s more spacious (and less crowded, depending on when you go). Is Kaldi’s coffee really that good? No, not really, but I have found personally that the drinks are a little bit more consistent at the ESC location, though the Depot tends to have a larger selection of pastries. To be honest, the main appeal of this Kaldi’s is its aesthetic, and that’s why it’s on this list—if you, like me, find being in an aesthetic space helpful for study/work motivation, then you should check it out one day. The first time I wandered in here was as a 2nd year halfway through my fall semester, and I was kicking myself for not discovering it earlier! Trust me, it’s SO nice.
  5. The Quad: it wouldn’t be a private undergraduate university without an aesthetic quad, amirite? My undergrad didn’t have a space like this so whenever I visit the quad, I can delude myself into feeling like I’m living undergrad 2.0. It’s especially beautiful on warm spring days (the flowering trees!), or in the fall (fall colors are a good look on this campus). Plus, the Carlos Museum is right there if you want an art museum-themed study break (plus, admission is free for Emory students and there’s an Ebrik Coffee in there if you need a caffeination station).
  6. Samuel L. Atwood Chemistry Building: located just around the corner from the Quad, it is somewhat of a hike from Rollins, but worth it if you’re looking to break out of the Rollins bubble and need a new nice place to study. Joanne showed us this spot on a Rollins Walks that turned into an impromptu campus tour! There’s plenty of seating options, from open seating in the very spacious, light-filled lobby to a few outdoor tables to individual-size closed-off study rooms the size of a cubicle, if you like that sort of thing. There’s also a Highland Bakery location in this building if you need to refuel on coffee, snacks, or food while you study.
  7. Matheson Reading Room: if you love an aesthetic, spacious library reading room with high ceilings and light fixtures reminiscent of Hogwarts or some old Ivy League institution, then this is the spot for you.
  8. Cox Hall Food Court: this food court offers several options that are honestly not bad—better than anything the Rollins Café has to offer. It’s kind of ironic that the school of public health has some of the worst food options on campus! Anyway, if you find yourself on the other side of the bridge and need to grab lunch, try this food court. My go-to spot is Twisted Taco; their lunch taco combos are a steal for the price given the portion sizes. Two tacos and a large size of chips and salsa is enough for lunch and a study snack later. The line can get long around the lunch rush, but it moves quickly. Blue Donkey serves up iced coffee here, which is pretty good as well.
  9. Emory Farmer’s Market: also not a study spot, but this farmer’s market pops up from 11am-2pm every Tuesday while school is in session, and it’s another great lunch option if you find yourself on campus at that time. I recommend Marrakech Express for some authentic, tasty Moroccan food cooked by Chef Amal.
  10. (honorable mention) 8th floor CNR: while this is on the Rollins campus, I don’t think many people know about these rooftop terraces on either side of the 8th floor of CNR. The high tables and chairs are a great spot to study or eat lunch/dinner and catch sunsets or views of the skyline on days when the weather is nice. This spot is ideal if you have a device that doesn’t need to be plugged in constantly.

Emory has so much to offer—definitely explore campus beyond Rollins while you’re here. It’ll help you feel like you’re part of a larger community.

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