For this year’s Orientation Issue, the Opinions staff asked columnists to share one of their favorite things to do when at Binghamton University, either on-campus or in nearby off-campus areas. Hopefully, this column offers some inspiration to new students!

Eli Engler, Opinions columnist, Arts & Culture assistant and sophomore majoring in chemistry:

“A really fun activity to do at BU is visit the greenhouse. Situated in the Science III building, the greenhouse is free and open to visitors during the week, providing an awesome spot to relax, study or visit with a friend. It features several different climates, which allow for a variety of plants, from cacti to lime trees.”

Peter Proscia, Opinions columnist and junior majoring in English:

“One of my favorite things to do on campus when I have some free time is to simply walk around. The school has so many nice paths and trails, from the sidewalks all the way to the Nature Preserve, that are perfect for a stroll. It’s a great way to discover new corners of campus while getting some fresh air.”

Nicolette Cavallaro, Opinions columnist and senior majoring in psychology:

“One thing I love to do in BU is hang out with my friends at Einstein Bros. Bagels. Whether it’s just sitting around and eating or putting our headphones on to get some studying done, the high tables by the windows are always perfect. I can’t wait to sit there again this fall, drink some coffee and relax.”

Max Kurant, Opinions columnist and junior double-majoring in English and an individualized major in social systems science:

“There are more interesting people than you think at BU, and it’s not as impossible as it seems to get to know them. I like to make it a habit to ask people who I want to learn more about to get coffee, take a walk around campus or take a walk in the Nature Preserve to get to know them a bit better. Whether you’re looking for mentors, friends or just to learn more about someone and their life, you won’t regret putting yourself out there and being curious.”

Annie Dineen, Opinions columnist and sophomore majoring in chemistry:

“BU has plenty of good food options, but every once in a while, my friends like to venture off-campus to grab some brunch. Sometimes we just walk to Denny’s, and other times we drive to Chris’ Diner or Skylark Diner. It is a fun way to chill and hang with friends on a Sunday morning before you start all the studying that you put off. Instead, sometimes, after we finish all of our studying, we go get ice cream at Sugar Lips as a little reward.”

Jacob Wisnock, Opinions columnist and sophomore majoring in political science:

“Binghamton is really a second-rate college town, but the campus is beautiful. Our Nature Preserve really is all it’s cracked up to be, and it is underutilized by students and faculty, so it can be a solitary space for meaningful reflection at any hour. When the sun is out in the spring and early fall, you’ll see students participating in all sorts of relaxing activities, and, for me, that means hammock-ing in Mountainview or around the Spine. The little ice rink the University puts up in the winter is also great fun.”

Peter Levy, Opinions columnist and undeclared sophomore:

“On nice days, I love to walk through the Nature Preserve. Situated on the edge of campus, the preserve features vast swaths of woodlands and wetlands filled with diverse wildlife such as snapping turtles, yellow-spotted salamanders and beavers. I have always loved hiking and the natural world for its ability to remove people from the stresses of our busy lives. The preserve, while only a 10 minute walk from the University Union, feels wholly removed from the Spine and the realities of school. This unworldliness is only exacerbated when the sun goes down. Removed from campus lights, the place becomes a haven for star watchers. One of my favorite things to do is to make my way to the pond bridge on a crisp clear night and stare straight up at the starry night sky — letting my stresses be consumed by the vastness of the cosmos above.”

Michael Toscano, Opinions columnist and sophomore majoring in business administration:

“At least once a week during the school year, I try to take a trip to the local Goodwill. It’s located five minutes off-campus, a quick bus ride or Uber trip away. Binghamton has a great Goodwill and I always find nice pieces. Sustainable fashion and the environment are very important to me, and I love the thrill of thrifting. Going to the Goodwill and thrifting definitely helped me to destress during my first year at BU.”

Doris Turkel, Opinions Editor and junior majoring in philosophy, politics and law:

“During my first week at BU, I wandered down to the soccer fields near the East Gym, hoping to play. I ended up meeting some of my closest friends there, and pickup soccer has been one of my favorite activities at BU since. Two years later, our pickup soccer GroupMe is going strong at 111 members.”