Get in touch with your European side, study like Parisians


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We Americans have always been obsessed with Parisian culture — the style, the language, that je nais se quois. What is it that gives off that certain something that we’re so desperate to emulate?

Maybe it’s just that Parisians put in more effort. This summer, they stepped that up with an innovative new concept — Kwerk. Kwerk is a mix of the words “quirk” and “co-work,” and is the name of a gorgeous new building in the heart of Paris. It’s draped in velvet curtains and decorated with elegant sculptures, and is equipped with a yoga studio, giant meeting rooms, a lush garden and terraces with breathtaking views. It’s a space that encourages some serious productivity.

So what’s the closest we can get to Kwerk at Rutgers? Maybe there isn’t one ridiculously luxurious building on campus students can go to get the most out of their time working, but there is definitely no lack of spaces to study.

Not everyone will agree that Rutgers has the most scenic campus, but there are absolutely some beautiful places to study while it’s still warm out. If aesthetic is important to you, College Avenue’s Voorhees Mall is the perfect place to study. There are plenty of benches and light filtering through the leaves and is usually only busy between classes. If the cold is too much for you, then floor-to-ceiling windows are your friend — the Student Activities Center has a majestic view of the Raritan downstairs. Mabel Smith Douglass Library also has captivating views of the ravine from its lower levels.

If you need constant access to coffee and food while reviewing notes, then hit Easton Avenue for either of the Hidden Grounds coffee shops. The new espresso bar by the train station is a light, open space with walls decorated with art. It's a perfect place to get creative juices flowing and is a great alternative to a loud, crowded Starbucks. If coffee shops aren’t your forte, then the secluded Cook Campus Center (CCC) is the underdog among all the campus centers at Rutgers.

“It’s really quiet, nice and open, and it’s really pretty outside too — you can see the forest in the back,” said Ananya Kapoor, a School of Arts and Sciences first-year student. “It’s very at-home and peaceful — I’m in my element there.” 

It’s not too out-of-the-way either — The CCC is located just off the Biel Road bus stop, and Kapoor himself travels from his dorm on the College Avenue Campus just to study there.

For those who prefer not to lug around a laptop all day there are computer labs all over campus, but not all are created equal. The first floor of the Allison Road Classroom building on Busch Campus has a great computer lab with plenty of spaces. There are usually a lot of student workers available to help if there are any computer or printer issues. If you prefer to write things out, most buildings on campus remain unlocked when classes are over, so you can go into any lecture hall and play professor after-hours. Loree on Douglass and Tillett on Livingston have perfect classrooms to pick up some chalk and work it out on the board.

If you’ve tried all these locations and are still feeling uninspired, the good news is Rutgers is constantly changing and upgrading. The Yard has tables outside with umbrellas that are great to use in sunny weather, but also has a space just inside on the first floor with a wall that’s completely windows to look out to onto the grass. That room is great if you like being able to look out and people-watch. It’s open to all students, but if a friend can sign you into the building the sky lounges have absolutely stunning views of New Brunswick. You can even see the New York City skyline if you look close enough.

Also, new on campus are the active learning classrooms in the Academic Building on the College Avenue Campus. These classrooms are furnished with tables and flat-screen televisions mounted on the walls that students can even plug their laptop into while they work. It’s a great place for collaboration. It’s definitely worth it to take advantage of this new technology as it pops up.

So maybe New Brunswick isn’t quite at Kwerk levels when it comes to our work spaces, but we definitely have our ways of getting stuff done. At least at Rutgers we can grab a fat sandwich for comfort food — bingo.


Susmita Paruchuri

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