Illona Hartman – Part 2

Fall in Love

By Illona Hartman (22), Junior, majoring in Civil Engineering at Ohio University, Athens OH.

November 29th, 2016.

Welcome back everyone, I hope your semester or quarter is going well so far and that you enjoyed my first post on the blog. Do not give up yet, we are almost at the end of the year when it is time to relax during winter break and the lovely, cozy holidays. I can say my semester has been kind of crazy with unexpected concussions throughout field hockey season and a surprise trip home, so I cannot wait to have a relaxing month off for winter break. I am so sorry you only get two weeks off in the Netherlands: Hallelujah American education system.








Me during our annual promo shots.

Before I start to talk too much about myself, I will get back to today’s topic: architecture and structures situated on the campus of Ohio University. Get ready for a virtual tour through the most beautiful campus of the United States of America. You will see that there is a connection between most of the buildings and roads by the infamous red brick culture. Throughout this tour, you will also understand why I believe a lot of the American culture comes down to networking, as mentioned in my former post.


Firstly, I would like to talk about different academic buildings on campus. On West Green, the part where I live, we have a couple of halls but mainly dormitories. The bigger halls are called Stocker Centre (engineering), the Academic and Research Centre (engineering and health sciences), and Irvine Hall (health sciences). As shown below, the most remarkable thing about the buildings is the similarity with the European architecture like the classicism. For example, most halls have Doric columns at the entrance or a  tympanon on top, the triangular shape of a temple.

Irvine hall

stocker centre







Irvine Hall on the left and Stocker Centre on the right.


Another interesting building is by no doubt Baker Centre, shown on the picture below and situated at the border of West Green and College Green. This building has the same function as ‘‘Het Hoofdgebouw’’ on the TU/e campus in the Netherlands, so it contains a lot of offices plus a dining court, restaurant and coffee shop. The most remarkable about this building is the foundation and structure, since it is built on top of a steep hill!

fourth level baker centre

first lever baker centre





The fourth and first level of Baker Centre respectively.

 Furthermore, almost all academic halls have a concrete or steel structure from the inside and a brick wall from the outside. Some of them might be based on bricks only, like the Dutch ‘‘schijvenbouw’’(discs construction), since the university was founded in 1804. This makes it the oldest university in the state of Ohio. College Green, our next stop, is the oldest part of the campus with the historical gateway shown below. This gateway is located at the edge of the campus which continues in Court Street, a shopping and bar street similar to ‘‘Stratumseind’’. At the beginning, Court Street made me think of those typical streets shown in Western cowboy movies, haha. Probably because of some of the facades and green parking meters.

alumni gateway

corner college green






1804 Alumni Gateway on the corner of College
Green and Court Street.


Below I will just show you some pictures from some of the prettiest buildings in Athens, all situated on college green. Most of these church and temple a like buildings contain offices and classrooms. Last but not least, look at the marvelous greenery the campus is surrounded by:

campus 1

campus 2







campus 3

campus 4









campus 6

Our tour will continue to South Green and East Green where you will mainly find on-campus housing and dining halls. Notice the arty details here and there:

campus (2) 1

campus (2) 2





campus (2) 3


Secondly, most residential buildings are constructed with timber structures on the inside (HSB in Dutch). This results in a lot of noise complaints, especially in the dorms that I have lived in so far. The floor plan of my dorm is designed in a way that two rooms are separated by a massive, load-bearing wall on one side and just a tin wall of timber closets and drawers on the other side. This latter wall does not have any acoustic value at all. So, when the crazy loud air-conditioning is switched off, you hear every single word of what your neighbors say, especially during college festivities, haha. Luckily, our air-conditioning is turned on 24/7 since it gets really hot and humid during summer, but also during winter when they switch the heaters on constantly. On the picture below you can see West Green with the typical crossed paths in the center and my current dorm on the left. Notice that you can also see the previously described Stocker Centre and Irvine Hall in the background.

best green








West Green, the best Green.

 Sorority / Fraternity Houses (Greek Life)

Thirdly, Ohio University knows several fraternities and sororities which are mainly located on and around College Green. I do not want to talk too much about this type of architecture since I will write a specific blog on just this topic, when I write about the differences in college experience and the Greek life. I also decided to leave the athletic buildings for another blog, when I write about my experience as an athlete at an American university.

alpha delta









Alpha Delta Pi Sorority on College Green.


Dining Halls

Finally, we will end today’s tour with the dining halls. Two of them, Nelson Hall and Shively, are located on South Green, but the most delicious dining hall is definitely Boyd on West Green.

boyd dining hall








Boyd Dining Hall on West Green, across Irvine Hall.


These dining halls serve different kinds of food every single day which usually repeats every other week. Most dining halls also have a market, coffee shop, or smoothie bar to get your meal of the day bought by meals on the so called ‘‘swipes’’ or Bobcat ID. By the way, the Bobcat is the mascot of the school. Most of the students either have a flex-14 or traditional-20 meal plan. The number stands for the amount of meals per week and flex means that you can use your fourteen meals whenever you want (breakfast, lunch, dinner). The maximum meals a week is twenty because the dining hall does not serve breakfast on Sundays.

map of ohio university







The map of Ohio University (Ohio University, 2015).


After this short tour, you probably see how the American college experience creates a big, solid network in comparison to that in my home country (The Netherlands). First of all, most of the Dutch universities do not even have a campus where all faculties are gathered together. The academic halls are usually spread out over the whole city like in Amsterdam or Utrecht. Furthermore, the Dutch universities generally do not have dormitories or any housing on their ‘‘campus’’. This is why the American way gave me the opportunity to meet other students outside the College of Engineering to enlarge my network.

typical streets





Typical streets and housing in Athens, OH.


Moreover, when I walk uptown Athens, my college town, I see a lot of residential buildings without a fenced garden. This might give you less privacy as the owner, but it is a great way to get a conversation going with your neighbors in comparison to that of the Dutch built environment.

typical streets and housing NL






Typical streets and housing in the Netherlands: ‘‘rijtjeshuizen’’ (SylingDesigns)


Another funny thing I realized is that a couple of Dutch universities are now copying the American idea of college described above. For example, my former university in Eindhoven (TU/e) is now creating the ‘‘Green Campus’’ with on-campus housing, grocery stores, bars, gyms, and last but not least academic halls. In addition, the TU/e’s new English oriented ‘‘bachelor college’’ is surprisingly close to the idea of America’s general education system, which requires you to take general (engineering) classes to become a sophisticated student.

map of eindhoven university






The map of the Eindhoven University of Technology (NaarDeUniversiteit, 2016).


With the differences and similarities being said, I would like to point out the beauties of our current season: the magical fall colors. For some reason I never thought of fall as my favorite season, but after experiencing an Ohio fall I cannot imagine anything else. Come on, who does not want to walk around this amazing campus covered in red and yellow colors while enjoying the 20C/70F temperature?!

fall colours


Be prepared when you visit Ohio University to FALL in love with the beautiful campus and friendly atmosphere, especially in FALL semester.

”Don’t follow your dreams, chase it, and you will catch one like an ascending balloon.” – Illona Hartman.

Have a good break and until next time!




Fall colors seen all around campus.