The temperature drops below freezing. The sky turns gray for half of the year. Metal fences slightly mask the work at Hawkins Pond and Mason Hall, but the sound of construction still perforates our eardrums. To the untrained eye, the Plattsburgh State campus in the upcoming winter can be an unsightly and depressing place. But, if you know where to go, you’ll find its hidden beauty.
THE WHISPERING WALL
Three sculptures of mangled and twisted metal line the sidewalk outside of Hudson Hall. They’re eye-catching and attention-grabbing but not the only beautiful pieces in this scene. The wall behind the art may look like a stack of bricks but is actually a work of art. Most students call it “the whispering wall.” The wall slightly curves, allowing a person at one end to whisper and have someone else on the other end hear their secret message. It’s the perfect place to bring someone on a date and whisper a romantic secret in their ear while being 20 ft. away from each other.
CHAMPLAIN VALLEY HALL LOUNGE
In all honesty, I don’t think the academic buildings at PSUC are that aesthetically pleasing. I walk inside the buildings and everything turns to brown, beige and linoleum. I understand changes needed to be made for more structurally sound and functional buildings since the campus’ founding in 1889. But now only one piece of PSUC has that old-style university feel: the Champlain Valley Hall lounge. Blue carpet covers the floor, a small library of books on reading and writing sits underneath the windows and a fireplace ignites in the center of the room. No computers, no TVs, no speakers — it’s a humble room encapsulating a nostalgic view of education.
DOWNED TREE IN THE SARANAC RIVER
Last year, a severe thunderstorm destroyed part of the Saranac River trail that runs along Memorial Field. The concrete cracked and became submerged. A tree uprooted and fell into the river. It may be a little sketchy, but climbing atop the tree trunk and inching your way out over the river rewards you with a beautiful view. You can stare out and see the flow of the river, or you can look down and witness the river foam accumulating against the tree’s trunk. I always thought it was funny how destruction led to something even prettier.
BRIDGE OVER THE SARANAC
This one almost looks like something out of a dream or mirage. If you head up the Saranac River trail, you’ll eventually come to a bridge that stretches over the river. From the entrance, it almost looks as if there is no end to the bridge, like it just keeps going. You get tunnel vision if you stare at it long enough. Looking forward, your eyes start to play tricks on you, while your peripheral vision picks up glimpses of the shallow river flowing over slippery and shiny rocks.
THE NINA WINKLE SCULPTOR COURT
Light casts down through the sun roofs while a tiny waterfall dribbles into a small semi-circular pool with koi fish swimming in it. Little trees and bushes are scattered between clay and metal statues depicting scenes of Christianity cover.
Personally, this gallery is my favorite place on campus. You’re not technically outside, but the room contains enough nature to make you feel like you are. I visit the gallery and read a book, do my homework or write. It’s an ideal environment to expand a creative mind.
Sure, it’s easy to stay inside and watch Netflix all winter catching up on “Orange is the New Black,” but there’s a lot more to PSUC than the cold, wet weather. You just have to find it because, when you do, you’ll find something truly beautiful.
Email Griffin Kelly at firstname.lastname@example.org.