Thursday, April 21, 2011

Student Off-Campus Activities

Being a relatively small community of mostly long-time elderly residents or families with young children, Moraga is known for its minimal entertainment that caters to college students, however, a Jan Term class was created to address the needs of college students in Moraga.[citation needed] As one sign of its suburban setting, Saint Mary's location is distinguished by having a Safeway at the bottom of the hill no matter which way you turn out of campus. However, there are several movie theaters, fast food places and restaurants within a short drive of campus, and the Rheem and Orinda Theatres are only about ten minutes away. Some students also go to nearby larger towns, such as Concord, Walnut Creek and Berkeley and the cities of Oakland and San Francisco.

All freshmen at Saint Marys live on campus. 62% of the total student population lives on campus. There are six freshmen dorms (Augustine, Justin, Mitty, De La Salle, Aquinas and Assumption Halls). All freshman dorms (with the exception of Aquinas) are set up "community style," in which two or three students usually share a room and the entire floor shares a central bathroom. Floors are usually separated by sex in freshman halls (because of the shared bathrooms). The only exceptions are Aquinas hall which has students live in suites with their own bathroom, and the first floor of Assumption, which is coeducational with girls’ rooms having their own bathrooms. Aquinas is also open to upperclassmen. Currently, freshmen living on campus are guaranteed a spot on campus for their second year. Sophomores live in Becket Hall, More Hall, North and South Claeys Halls, and Ageno A, B, and C Halls. All of these halls are "suite" style living and each suite comes with three or four bedrooms, accommodates six students, and has its own bathroom and shower. Floors on suite buildings are co-ed.
Juniors and seniors enter into a housing lottery to determine if they can live on campus. Many upperclassmen live in "townhouse" buildings: Ageno East and West, Guerreri East and West, Freitas, Thille, Syufy and Sabatte Halls. All townhouses come with two or three bedrooms (accommodating five to six students), a bathroom and shower, kitchen and living room. Upperclassmen also live off-campus in Moraga, Orinda, Lafayette, and Walnut Creek. Upperclassmen resident advisers, as well as a few other upperclassmen, live in the traditionally freshman and sophomore halls. All residence hall rooms are fully furnished and come with two phones with free long distance, free Internet, and free TV cable outlet. Others often choose to live at home if they are within half an hour of campus. In addition to several student resident advisers, each residence hall also has at least one resident director, who is often a professor and lives in the residence hall.
The majority of classes are held in Galileo, Dante and Garaventa halls, which each have three floors. Most of the professors’ offices are also in these halls. A science building, known as Brousseau Hall or by its former name, Gatehouse, was built in 2000. Sichel Hall is a smaller, media-oriented classroom building used by the Communication Department, and Syufy Performing Arts Hall houses large and small practice rooms for arts students. The newest building on campus is Filippi Academic Hall, which houses the School of Education. The library, St. Albert Hall, is located near the freshmen dorms.
The cafeteria is called Oliver Hall, but it is known to the students as "Saga," after a former operator. The Cassin Student Union is a student lounge that also has a workout facility inside. Attached is Café Louis, features a sandwich shop and grill as well as a coffee shop, operated by Sodexho, the same company that runs the dining hall. Dryden Hall has recently been retrofitted into overflow seating for Oliver Hall. Also in the student union are Delphine Intercultural Center, and the bookstore, which are separate buildings.
Athletics facilities include McKeon Pavilion (basketball and volleyball), the Saint Mary’s swimming pool, Saint Mary's stadium (soccer and lacrosse), Madigan Gym (Rec sports), Louis Guisto field (baseball), Cotrell Field (softball) as well as an additional soccer field, a rugby field and an intramural field. The college also has a tennis court area and frequently hosts the WCC tennis tournaments. The Power Plant, slightly old and antiquated, is where students work out, but the college hopes to replace it within a few years. There is also a new Cardio Workout Center on the second floor of the Madigan Gym and in Cassin Student Union.
Two other important buildings are the Soda Activity Center and the Lefevre Theatre, where various events are held. There is also St. Albert Hall Library and the Hearst Art Gallery. All buildings on campus except Assumption Hall are named after an important person in the Catholic religion or a person important to the school.
There is also a cross at the top of a hill on campus. A large concrete “SMC” is located up top of one of the surrounding hills, and it gets painted frequently to commemorate different events.

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