Whiskers on kittens: A few of our favourite things on campus

By and in Features

We know it’s been rough — with frozen eyelashes, 4 o’clock sunsets and readings you’re definitely already behind on. January can be unforgiving, and February break is still far away. We’re going to be on campus for awhile — like, daily.

Some of you probably aren’t worried, because you love school the most. And that’s amazing, but some of us are prone to winter-term ruts — drifting in a stress-haze between classes without even taking our parkas off. If you, too, have a bad, bratty corner of your heart that doesn’t fully appreciate the incredible privilege that is post-secondary education, it’s okay — it’s normal.

We don’t have a solution for this feeling, but we did make a list of some special places and things that we really like about campus. Hopefully, they will give small comfort — or just something new to think about — to get you through the coldest months of the year.

01. The Eggel: For a notable campus comfort food, the Eggel is an affordable option — at $6.50 — for an upscale experience to quell your midday breakfast-food hankerings. Jalapenos, one fried egg, a bagel that’s never too toasty to adequately maintain the structural integrity of the sandwich — there is literally nothing wrong with this menu item.

Laura Underwood / Layout Manager

It’s usually available at Louis’ Loft, hours and supply permitting. Ask to substitute extra hummus in place of cream cheese if you’re sensitive to dairy, or even if you aren’t. Hummus is the hot, trendy spread of the young generation.

02. Study spot spotlight: There are countless study corners on campus, each with pros and cons. Some boast desirable proximity to plug-ins, photocopiers or Starbs. Others are coveted for their flattering lighting or extended hours. Still others are great, because they are secret.

Laura Underwood / Layout Manager

It would be a shame if any of those shrouded havens got blown out, because someone published them in the Sheaf, but if you’re looking to freshen up your routine, why not test drive the comfy chairs along the mezzanine on the second floor of the Leslie and Irene Dubé Health Sciences Library?

We’re not saying it’s the best spot on campus, but this particular semicircle of lounger and low-table quads is at least business class. The strict no-talking policy in Health Sciences is great if you desperately need to concentrate, and the lighting in the morning, from the southeast facing two-storey windows, can be magnificent.

If you’re worried about glare, don’t be — it’s controlled automatically by high-tech robot blinds. What a time to be alive.

03. Most calming resource: We seem to hear a lot about mindfulness meditation these days. Modern life is busy and stressful, and mindfulness meditation is often touted as a beneficial practice that can increase well-being and even grades — and it is one of the many mental-health resources offered on campus, for free, with no registration required.

J.C. Balicanta Narag / Photo Editor

The setting for these sessions feature soft-coloured light filtered through stained-glass windows, and participants are invited to find a seat in the circle of chairs. For the next hour, there are no responsibilities, except allowing a gentle voice to guide one through a series of mellow visualizations and/or inventories of bodily sensations.

If your mind goes astray, and it will over and over again, all you have to do is return your awareness to the present moment. Breath goes in, breath goes out. It’s simple, relaxing and makes you feel better. This all happens Mondays from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the St. Thomas More College Chapel.

04. Best spot to melt down cinematically: Adjacent to the University of Saskatchewan’s sculpture garden and just a few steps from the Diefenbaker Canada Centre, this bench offers the perfect setting for your mid-semester crises.

Emily Migchels / Opinions Editor

Actually, this spot will sustain year-round breakdowns. Pretend you’re crying for the camera, and give the Meewasin Valley an Oscar-worthy performance. The grandeur of nature plays an astute supporting role. Though near a high-traffic walking trail, it’s a fairly secluded vantage point with a spectacular view of Saskatoon’s illustrious skyline.

You can cry your heart out, here, with a slim chance of confrontation — no matter how loud you wail. Don’t let frigid temperatures keep you from this spot, either. On occasion, you might catch a glimpse of a lonely ice chunk floating down the South Saskatchewan River — it can be nice to watch things float purposelessly like that when you’re feeling pretty purposeless yourself.

05. Most asthetic chairs: Though the Louis’ Pub renovations may not have dazzled overall, their upcycled copper bar stools are a welcome upgrade to the tired interior of the campus watering hole. These chairs are beautiful and comfortable — to sit in them is to feel like a true savant.

Emily Migchels / Opinions Editor

A feature of note: these chairs supply a near-perfect footrest bar for anyone taller than the required height to ride most roller-coasters. Keep in mind, there’s only eight chairs available, so be wary if you plan to bring a group to test them out.

That being said, the staff were surprisingly unphased by an unknown individual ambiguously asking to move and take photos of the furniture. An Instagram opportunity for all, perhaps?

06. Best new artwork: Above the ramp in the Arts Building, in one of the busiest campus corners, hangs a colourful new painting by Kevin Pee-ace. The painting, depicting a graduation-capped student reaching toward a shining star, was commissioned for Aboriginal Achievement Week in the spring of 2017 and painted on site as part of the celebrations.

According to the artist, the painting is meant to inspire the dreams and goals of students in arts and science. Rise of the Morning Star showcases the bold signature style of one of Saskatchewan’s most recognizable artists. This new painting is as massive, dazzling and vibrant as your future.

Laura Underwood / Layout Manager

Next time you find yourself in the pre-lunch traffic jam, shuffling slowly down the main Arts ramp, take time to admire Rise of the Morning Star in all its fierce chromaticity and take solace in its message — that graduating student could some day be you.

07. Best guerilla public artwork: Poke around the second floor in Murray Library North Wing, and you’ll likely stumble upon this mysterious collage adorning the eastern wall of a room full of empty, often precariously piled desks — a coveted study space for those in the know.

Emily Migchels / Opinions Editor

The colourful rocket ship is eye-catching, but it’s those whimsical tiny paper camping figures, glued in a friendly and welcoming arrangement, that inspire the most intrigue. Imagine yourself enjoying two-dimensional marshmallows with them the next time you need a break from your books — or invent a story about the lone floating astronaut and fishbowl.

The piece has remained untouched for at least four years — perhaps there’s an institutional appreciation for really good graffiti? The artist, or artists, remains unknown.

08. Cutest campus critter: At the Rayner Dairy Research and Teaching Facility, you’ll visit for the cathartic smell of cow shit and stay for the friendly, furry tour guides like Cheeto, who lives and works here as a full-time mouser — though she’s especially keen on observing visitors and scratching her face on the Cow-Walk’s guard rails.

The facility was established in 2013, and houses around 100 cows year-round. When asked which of these bovid mammals Cheeto is especially fond of, her blank stare made it clear that she’s not into picking favourites.

It’s obvious that Cheeto doesn’t often meet new friends — she can be shy — but once you break the ice with a few pats, she’ll snack on your pants and stick her head right into your pockets. The identifying tag on Cheeto’s collar simply reads “do not take” — as though anyone could truly capture her free spirit.

Emily Migchels / Opinions Editor

Cheeto is available for you to visit any time at the Feeding the World Interpretive Centre, which is open for public viewing from 12 to 4:30 p.m. every day, except on public holidays.

09. Speediest campus club: Getting involved with clubs is a great way to enrich campus life, but maybe swing dancing, improv or knitting seem too slow. Luckily, the U of S has a Formula One club where you can help design and build an actual race car.

That’s right, Huskie Formula Racing is a group of students from a variety of colleges who get together to conceive, design and fabricate a race car, which is entered each year into an international competition. Last year, the team secured a second-place finish for their sales presentation.

Mitchel Knaus

This club seems to have a lot of montage potential. All the elements are there: hard work, a long-shot dream, a crew of — just guessing, here — lovable weirdos. There’s even an underdog dynamic, as the U of S team is working with a much tighter budget than many of their international competitors.

Although this club is, by nature, geared towards engineering students, anyone can join. Meetings are held every Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Engineering Building, Room 1B71, and you can also visit the team headquarters, located in Room 1A25 any day except Sundays. If no one is there, head to Room 1A72 and ask for Mike.

10. Honourable Mention: ASSU does the Sheaf: This display — located in Arts 218 — is a heartwarming reminder that people can and do read this paper. The Arts and Science Students’ Union has been collecting and showcasing active council member’s Sheaf contributions since September 2016.

Emily Migchels / Opinions Editor

Features, articles and interviews are lovingly clipped from print and hung for all to see. Drop by the ASSU office to rent a locker, check out their exam file and — while you wait for someone who actually knows the computer’s password — read some great student writing.

Laura Underwood / Layout Manager

Emily Migchels / Opinions Editor