An update from Ann Batenburg, Faculty in Residence (FiR) for the Virginia-Snider Residential Commons:

September 1, 2013

I feel like I live here tonight. It always takes me a few weeks to get comfortable in a new place, and I am feeling pretty comfortable tonight. Thunderstorms drew me out of my humble abode this evening – one downside of living in a residence hall is that the outside noise is often muffled (Boulevarding days, a notable exception), so I cannot hear thunderstorms very well. I found that I have a lovely neighborhood.

I thought I heard a marching band playing, but why would a marching band be playing at 11 p.m. on the Sunday night of Labor Day weekend? In a thunderstorm? (If anyone can solve this mystery for me, please leave a comment.) I decided to chase the sound, but its origin eluded me. Apart from a few feral undergraduates playing in fountains, it was very peaceful.

I realize that there have been several reports of incidents on campus, but I feel very safe here walking on my own. There are always people walking around, the Giddy-Up drivers zooming about, and police patrolling carefully. I pay attention to my surroundings and do not listen to an iPod. I have my phone; I’ve taken precautions. So far, so good.

This campus is amazing at night. I recently read that Paris elevates accent lighting to an art form; certainly, SMU is not far behind. The fountains are lit, some, like the Late Fountain, are multicolored. The trees along the Boulevard make a gorgeous canopy for a stroll. Perkins Chapel, set back modestly from the Boulevard, classic and dignified during the day, transforms impressively under the lights into something elegant and striking. The roses there are lovely. So far, it is my favorite place to sit for general contemplation of life, the universe, and everything. Yet, there is so much more to explore.

By now, students have all found their secret nooks in which to curl up and study. (Fear not! Your secrets are safe with me.) These nooks are, very practically, all inside buildings. I am determined to find my secret nook outside on these wonderful grounds. At some point, I will make a complete survey of fountains and cupolas. At some point, I will procure a key to Barr pool for midnight swims. At some point, these evening constitutionals will yield my favorite hidden place on campus. But not tonight. Tonight was the first walk, surveying the grounds of my new home, serenaded by thunder and tickled by a light, cool rain after an exceedingly hot day. Tonight, I decide that I will love living here.