8 Colleges With the Strangest Things You Can Find on Campus


The college experience might be your make or break moment, but no doubt you remember some crazy and strange sights and events at your campus.

No tertiary education experience is complete with frat or sorority parties, brain-damaging exams, urban legends, and spine-chilling horror stories.

Even with the rising tuition and the struggle to pay off student loans, many young – and not so young – people choose to go to college to pursue their passion, to further their education, or to land a good, high-paying job.

A report last year from the US News stated that many high school students feel the pressure of choosing the best college.

But the clincher is that, according to article, the college experience relies more on what the student does and less on where they attend.

Even with that report, though, it can’t be denied that your college environment plays a role in the kind of experience you have.

American University

Grounds at American University (Source washingtonpost.com)

Ever wanted a late-night snack, but couldn’t find a pizza place? Too hungry to wait for the pizza guy?

How about constantly wondering whether that statue on school campus is about to jump you?

It’s also always thrilling to hear about secret tunnels at your university, but what about listening to the story of the scary murder that might have happened there?

Don’t let your imagination run away from you just yet.

Here’s a list 8 weirdest things you can find at some colleges and university campuses across the country. They might help you make up your mind about whether you want to go to college there or not!

Pizza ATM Machine at Xavier University

Pizza ATM Xavier University

Xavier University Women’s Soccer Team at Pizza ATM (Source teenvogue.com)

Machines can dispense a lot of things, from money, drinks, Cheez Doodles, and even fresh baguettes. Vending and cash machines are a staple of the US society, ever since its introduction in the country in 1888.

The first vending machine in the US? It dispensed gum, and was invented by the Thomas Adams Gum Company.

Ever since then, thousands of vending machines have appeared all over the country. They usually sell drinks and snacks like Doritos, but what about pizza?

Well thanks to Xavier University at Cincinnati, Ohio, their students can now enjoy a pizza straight out from this “ATM machine”. This is the first one in the entire country!

The machine dispenses hot pizza every hour of every day so all that late-night cravings has a solution. You can pay up to $10 for a 12-inch pizza, with some toppings.

There’s only one machine at the university at this time, though. It’s located at the lobby of Fenwick Place, and the machine only holds 70 homemade pies at a time, which means preparing to battle it out with other pizza-hungry students.

Now while this is a first in the country, it’s already been a staple in Europe. Pizza ATM is, in fact, brought to the university by the French company Paline.

The university’s assistant vice president, Jude Kiah, said that students worrying about having late-night pizza snacks make its way to the administration, and that they were only too happy to be the first school with a Pizza ATM.

Evergreen State College’s Geoduck Mascot “Speedy”

Speedy Geoduck Evergreen State College

A really long geoduck (Source evergreen.edu)

Alphie of the Nevada Wolf Pack from the University of Nevada, Reno. Brutus the Bruin Bear of Salt Lake Community College. D’Artagnan of Xavier University, Cincinnati. Truman the Tiger of the University of Missouri.

Fierce, legendary, and iconic, many school mascots display the college’s ferocious spirit. Except for some.

Evergreen State College isn’t your run-of-the-mill school. Located in Olympia, Washington, the college wants you to run your academic program the way you plan it.

Junior and senior college students have to come up with their own syllabus, filling it with the classes they want to take. Now that is really shaping the future with your own hands.

But aside from that, Evergreen State College proudly introduces its mascot, Speedy the Geoduck. You might think, “Oh, just a duck.” That’s not as awe-inspiring as a wolf, but Speedy isn’t even a duck.

Speedy is actually a really large saltwater, burrowing clam.

A regular geoduck’s (pronounced “gooey-duck”) shell can be around 15 – 20 cm in length, but what makes it longer is the neck or siphon, which can reach up to 1 meter long. It can live up to more than a century (the oldest had lived up to just 32 years shy of being 200 hundred years old). Also, it’s edible.

Although it can be considered a delicacy in some parts of the country, it’s an unusual choice of a school mascot.

In fact, “Speedy the Geoduck” has garnered the No. 1 spot in the Worst Team Mascots in a Time report

 It also got the highest number of votes the same category in the Sports Pickle publication.

It probably didn’t help that their team song went something like this, “Siphon high, squirt it out, swivel all about, let it all hang out, which is probably a weird nod to the school’s motto of Omnia Extares (literally, “Let it all hang out”).

The Ray and Maria Stata Center at MIT

Ray and Maria Stata Center MIT

Ray and Maria Stata Center (Source mit.edu)

This uniquely-designed building is considered a work of art. Also called “Building 32”, the center is meant to house the computer, information, and intelligence sciences.

It was completed in 2004, and was designed by Gehry Partners, LLP, whose main architect, Frank Gehry had won a Pritzker Prize.

It has a lot of classrooms, research facilities, and a large auditorium. It’s not just all work and no play, though. The building also contains fitness and training facilities, together with a daycare center, and several other “social areas”.

Commissioned by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, you can expect that this building will be extremely sustainable.

It has a state-of-the-art storm water management feature, a competent irrigation system, a way to control the CO levels in the building, a waste management system for construction, and more!

Because of its amazing structure and eye-catching design, it’s been given two awards in 2005, one for the Grand Award for Engineering Excellence, and another for a Gold Award for Sustainable Site Design.

The awards were given by the American Council of Engineering Companies of Massachusetts.

Covering over 720,000 square feet, the building was built on the site of where Building 20 used to be.

Building 20 was built during the World War II and was where many MIT graduates and founders had brainstormed for ideas.

It was just a building framed by timber and was never meant to be a permanent, long-lasting structure. Now, on its site stands the Ray and Maria Stata Center, a landmark for art and science.

Inside the structure, you will find the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, the Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems, and the Department for Linguistics and Philosophy.

Grey Towers Castle Arcadia University

Grey Towers Castle Arcadia University

Grey Towers Castle (Source arcadia.edu)

While MIT hosts modern buildings, filled with high technology, Arcadia University in Glenside, Pennsylvania, boasts its prominent castles that are straight out of a 19th century gothic horror story.

Except that this structure was actually made to look like a certain European castle where some Harry Potter films were shot.

It has over 41 rooms spread out over its three floors. The castle is part of the National Register of Historic Places. It was designed by Horace Trumbauer, an architect who lived during the 19th century.

Trumbauer had been commissioned by William Welsh Harrison, a wealthy man who ran a sugar business.

The castle has many secret tunnels, used, according to rumor, by maids who went in and out of Harrison’s room (He had a wife, but their marriage didn’t seem to be a happy one).

Grey Towers Castle Staircase

Grand Staircase

An ancient castle, plus secret passages lead to ghost stories, so, of course, Arcadia University is rife with such horror tales.

If you want something to give you goosebumps, just listen to these rumors before exploring the tunnels with your fellow adventure-seeking students.

According to the story, one maid was killed in a circular white room.

The wife had found out and wanted the maid gone. Harrison stabbed the poor help, her blood splashing all over the room.

According to legend, it never washed off and the area came to be known as the Red Room.

It’s something bored fraternity and sorority members can use for initiation, sure, but the first year university students who live in the first floor of the castle swear that when the sun goes down, and everyone’s asleep, they can hear the sound of a rocking chair echoing down the hall.

Wellesley College Semi-Naked Statue

Wellesley College Semi-Naked Statue

The Sleepwalker (Source nytimes.com)

It’s not a surprise to find naked statues in Greek design like Michelangelo’s David, but Wellesley College raised controversy when it showed a realistic semi-naked man (only in his underwear) standing in the middle of the school grounds.

Does it look artistic? See for yourself! It’s enough to give someone walking in the middle of the night a heart attack.

Imagine coming upon that statue while you’re getting yourself a midnight snack. You might want to pressure your school into getting that Pizza ATM, too.

Which is why, many of the female students in the college had signed a petition for the removal of the statue. Dubbed “Sleepwalker”, the statue is actually part of an art exhibit by the artist Tony Matelli.

The exhibit, titled “New Gravity”, aimed to showcase art that was different, strange, or upended.

The petition to remove the statue was brought about by fear and anxiety triggered by the news, possibility, or experiences of sexual assault.

The director of the Davis Museum, where the exhibit took place, said that the statue was meant to create the idea of art “getting away” or sleepwalking out of the museum, and that it was placed in the middle of the campus to “evoke response”.

It evoked response, all right. Some people thought it was funny, but many found it unsettling and disturbing, which the school might have expected considering that Wellesley is a private, women’s  college.

The statue was vandalized with yellow paint a few years ago in 2014, but is now wandering around the country for another exhibit.

Hillsdale College Statues of Liberty Walk

Hillsdale College Statues of Liberty Walk

George Washington at the Liberty Walk (Source facebook.com)

Historical monuments always make a college experience more memorable, especially when you can feel that you’re part of a colorful history.

Hillsdale College (formerly Michigan Central College) in Michigan has one of the most unique features found in a school: the Statues of Liberty Walk.

It’s a pathway riddled with statues of memorable, legendary, and iconic public figures from Western history, like:

  • Former presidents Ronald Reagan
  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • George Washington
  • British leaders Winston Churchill
  • Margaret Thatcher (called the “Iron Lady”)

The college administration is thinking of adding more statues, with abolitionist and orator Frederick Douglass slated for 2017.

Different sculptors were asked to make each statue through different periods in the school’s history, which makes for a sentimental storytelling.

For example, Tony Frudakis, an associate fine arts professor at the Hillsdale College, created the Lincoln statue. Frudakis said that Abraham Lincoln had, for him, always been an awe-inspiring individual.

Bruce Wolfe of California (who was also selected to make the Douglass statue), meanwhile, was the artist who built the Margaret Thatcher statue in the Liberty Walk.

He went to London to measure Thatcher so that a statue could be built in her honor.

Winston Churchill was sculpted by a Hillsdale alumnus, artist Heather Tritchka. The George Washington statue, the very first to be made for the Liberty Walk was unveiled in 2003.

The college’s spokesperson, Bill Meehan, said that the school wanted students and visitors to know Hillsdale’s vision for preserving history and liberty.

The Walk will feature more statues commemorating historical figures who fought and defended freedom, and who adhered to the virtues that the Unites States of America promote and advocate.

Goucher College Humans vs. Zombies Club

Goucher College Humans vs. Zombies Club

HvZ logo (Source qubeshub.org)

So there have been Renaissance fairs, Cosplays, and Role-Playing Games around college campuses for years, but where have you ever heard of an actual Humans vs. Zombies club? Interested? Check out the club first created at Goucher College, Baltimore in 2005.

The Walking Dead, 28 Weeks Later, Dawn of the Dead, and World War Z all show us a world about to be overrun by zombies who can “turn” their victims with just a bite.

It was inevitable that a bunch of college students would create a club dedicated solely to the survival of the human race against the undead.

Also, it’s a good excuse to play tag and walk like either an insomniac or a drunk.

Humans vs. Zombies has its own website where you can join the game and conventions.

The club had become so popular that it was constantly featured on national publications and news like the Washington Post, New York Times, and NPR.

The idea had caught on, and several other students from around the world started to create their own Humans vs. Zombies club.

Members can avail of the orange bandana with the club’s name, a “blaster” gun to protect yourself from the walking undead, shirts, and even hooded jackets.

Although the club games can be adapted by anyone, these original rules created by Brad Sappington and Chris Weed at Goucher College:

Every player starts out as Human. Like tag, there is only one “It” – a sole Zombie, who runs around tagging people and “infecting” them, effectively turning them into a Zombie (here, the player who becomes a Zombie can use the other side of their bandana to indicate their being infected/eaten). Each Zombie has to be able to tag or “eat” a Human in 48 hours in order to stay in the game.

The Humans’ objective is a bit difficult, though: to stay alive and evade the Zombies who will have to die off (i.e. not having tagged someone within 48 hours) for the Human team to win.

For the Zombie team to win, all Humans will have to be tagged.

University of Virginia Pet Cemetery

University of Virginia Pet Cemetery

Seal’s Funeral (Source uvamagazine.org)

While Stephen King’s novel about murderous pets coming back from the dead might make you hesitate getting a pet, the University of Virginia Cemetery and Columbarium might just touch your heart when you hear about the stories of the dog, Seal, buried in the university grounds.

The University of Virginia has had a lot of dogs pad through the campus halls. One of the earliest known was Beta, who lived sometimes around the 1920s. He had been “dognapped” and taken to the University of Georgia.

UVA managed to get him back to Charlottesville, where he lived until he got hit by a car and died. He was buried in the University Cemetery, with over 1,000 people attending his funeral.

After Beta the dog came Seal. One of the reasons that Seal was so well-loved was because of a historic football match between the University of Virginia and the University of Pennsylvania.

UP was a football powerhouse, its reputation overshadowing UVA. Seal was the football team’s unofficial mascot during that time, and in the 1949 game between the two universities, Seal gained fifteen minutes of fame.

He wandered over to the UP camp, sniffing around the megaphone on the ground. With people seeing and hearing, Seal relieved himself on the megaphone. The UVA crowd went wild, unbelievably, the University of Virginia won the match.

Seal did his job as a mascot. He charmed the crowd and also bolstered the spirit of his team.

After a few years, due to some illness, Seal died in 1953 at the University Hospital.

Like Beta’s funeral, Seal’s was attended by many people. Seal’s remains were placed in a hearse, and the University Band played “Death March”. More than 2,000 people were there, and the athletic team’s doctor gave the eulogy.

Rob Clark

SchoolCampus.org admin staff managing editor

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