“OK, everybody, grab your coats and mittens; we are about to leave for our campus tour!”
These are familiar words heard from Loyola Student Ambassadors three times a day, six days a week on campus tours. Being a tour guide is a unique experience that provides the opportunity to learn tons of facts about Loyola’s history and traditions.
Assistant News Editor Megan Carabelli shares some of the interesting facts she’s learned as a tour guide at one of the greatest universities ever (tour guide bias):
1. Madonna Della Strada echo spot
Ever stood in the doorway of Madonna and talked really loudly? Don’t worry, me neither. But if you stand on the middle cross on the ground facing the lake and speak, you will hear your voice echo from behind. The acoustics of the cement area and building allow the sound to bounce behind you and echo back.
2. Information Commons
The IC is one of the greenest buildings in the city of Chicago. The building is powered by the sun panels on the east side windows. These panels help power the automatic blinds, which regulate the amount of light entering the building. Heating and cooling is blown through the vents in the floor as opposed to the ceiling. The building holds 700 seats, 216 computer workstations (both PC and Mac), 35 group study rooms, eight classrooms, a digital media lab and a writing center.
3. Cudahy Library
Four words: creepy Harry Potter room. This silent study space on campus is deathly silent –— opening a bag of chips will probably get you a dirty look or two. The library is also the hub for Loyola’s 1.1 million books, 30,000 online periodicals, 250 databases and 5,200 ebooks.
4. Cudahy Observatory
Ever wonder what the big green dome is on top of Cudahy Hall? Well, here is the story: When the founders were building Loyola, they decided to be the only school in the city of Chicago with their own observatory. After they built the dome and bought the telescope, they began calibrating the telescope, but when the El came by it shook up all the calibrations, which takes a long time to reset so it is not in use today. Important facts you may not know: it takes eight hours to calibrate a telescope, the El runs 24 hours a day and it is too light in the city of Chicago to be able to see the stars. Major fail. Rumor has it that it is an all-physics major study lounge; tour guides think it is the Chamber of Secrets — I guess we will never know.
5. Dumbach Hall
The building was built in 1908 and is the oldest building on campus. It was built the last year the Cubs won the world series. One of the classrooms also has a fireplace in it. I’m not going to say I have told tour groups that I plan to roast marshmallows in there before I graduate … I’m also not prepared to say I didn’t say that.
6. Steam plant
Shockingly, most tour guides don’t find out what the steam plant does until training. For those who don’t know, the steam plant provides heat to the Information Commons, Cudahy Hall, Crown Center for the Humanities and Dumbach Hall. The building is set to shut down this spring and be turned into office space.
7. Santa Clara Hall
This junior and senior residence hall is the closest building in the city of Chicago to the lakefront. Residents also woke up to find a magically appearing beach this year; if you have more questions about that, ask Mother Nature.
8. Life Sciences Building and Quinlan School of Business
The namesake of the School of Business and Life Sciences Building, Michael R. Quinlan, is the previous CEO of McDonald’s Corp. and a Loyola graduate. Other famous Loyola graduates include Bob Newhart (namesake of the Newhart Family Theatre), Leslie David Baker (actor), Bill Rancic (first celebrity apprentice winner), Jennifer Morrison (actor) and Ian Brennan (creator of Glee).
9. Piper Hall
This mansion was built in 1909 and is now home to the center for Women Studies and Gender Studies. It was voted one of 30 most beautiful mansions on the lakefront and is home to offices and conference events throughout the year.