For most students, spring break means getting as far away from Binghamton as possible. It means reuniting with family and friends and eating real food. Many athletes and foreign students, however, don’t go anywhere when school lets out. These students aren’t being held here against their will either; they live in break housing.
So what is life like once the rest of us leave and you’re left without the sounds of screaming freshmen and dubstep bumping through the walls? What is it like for the few students who see Binghamton in a completely different light?
For one thing, three residence halls are left open for the nine days of spring break: Windham Hall in Mountainview College, Delaware Hall in Newing College and Mohawk Hall in College-in-the-Woods. For the students who stay in these dorms, the hardest task is finding something to do. Campus becomes a ghost town; there isn’t even a line for the Glenn G. Bartle Library printers. Unbelievable, right?
Chris Longoria, an undeclared freshman, recalls the long winter break spent in Binghamton with his basketball team. He passed the time with his team by watching TV, playing video games and occasionally going to the movies.
“We would practice around three hours every day,” Longoria said. “Then my whole team would eat together afterward.”
So what else will students do while the rest of us are in Cancun, stripping on tables for free shots? Brian Guilfoyle, a sophomore majoring in environmental science, is already making plans for his on-campus break with his lacrosse team. For Guilfoyle, downtime means quality team bonding and solitary relaxation.
“I will probably just sleep a lot,” Guilfoyle said. “Lacrosse will probably take up most of my time and energy while I’m here. Other than practices, lifting and games, my team will probably just hang back and relax.”
Others aren’t lucky enough to have the companionship of teammates to get them through. Many foreign students can’t fly home for breaks. Not only do they miss their homes and friends, but they have to survive on a campus devoid of pretty much everything.
Sungjae Lim, a sophomore majoring in mathematics, is not very excited about re-living the experience she had over winter break. Lim wasn’t able to fly to her home in South Korea and recalls lonely days spent in her dorm room.
“I just spent most of my time on the computer,” Lim said. “Sometimes I watched TV or took walks around the campus. I needed a way to make the time fly by.”
Spring break is nothing compared to the two cold months Lim spent here while the rest of us were celebrating the holidays with friends and family.
And many of the benefits we’re used to during the school year aren’t available when classes aren’t in session. During breaks, Sodexo workers are enjoying their time off just as much as the rest of us. Very few dining halls remain open to the students left on campus, so it can be difficult to find food. However, the Susquehanna Room will be open, and will surely be the busiest place on campus. But most students resort to walking over to Denny’s or taking the bus to eat their meals off campus.
Going Downtown, a staple of most students’ lives, isn’t that easy either. For the students looking to have a little bit of drunken fun while they’re trapped here, State Street will be just as vacant as the center of the brain. No music, no frat parties, no fist fights outside of Pasquale’s. It’s an entirely different, sober world.
But at least the students who are staying in Binghamton over spring break have a little something to be thankful for: the week might be brightened by the beautiful weather. Outdoor activities will surely make the vacant campus seem a little more alive and a bit more like the “break” the rest of us will be enjoying from the comfort of our homes.
In addition, break-housers get to experience a side of Binghamton none of us ever get to see. Maybe enjoying a few days of peace and quiet at Binghamton University isn’t the worst thing in the world. It could make for an interesting story or two.