The rumors about St. Olaf are true: the campus is full of drop-dead gorgeous … buildings. I’m a senior at Carleton and I’d never been there before, so I decided the time had come to make an expedition.
The first thing you need to know about St. Olaf is that it’s a long walk. Up a big hill. I’d decided to go on foot, map in hand, because it was too early for the Local Bus to start running. Boy, was I glad to see the long street of interest and language houses and finally St. Olaf itself.
As it turns out, St. Olaf College is a lot more like Carleton than we tend to think. They have a Bald Spot, for one thing. It’s called something else, but it’s still crisscrossed with footpaths and surrounded by academic buildings, and further out, the dorms. Buntrock Commons is their Sayles Hill, complete with snack bar, bookstore, and mailbox cubicles. That’s not so say there aren’t significant differences. If Buntrock Commons and Sayles Hill ever got in a fight, Buntrock would win. It has a three-story-high atrium inside of it and it color-coordinates with all of its building neighbors. And why does St. Olaf have a mysterious monument with windchimes hanging off of it in the middle of campus?
Most importantly, though, their snack bar sells ice cream.
The campus was filled with students out to see the Hold Steady concert later that evening – young, sweatshirt-donned, and entirely human. There might have been a slightly higher incidence of the Olaf lion than you’d find here on Carleton campus, but other than that, Oles are just college students. Not extraterrestrials or secret government experiments at all.
And now you can enjoy a photographic tour of this most exotic of locales: St. Olaf campus.