No phone needed: The Hilltop’s 8 spaces to just be

All Cornellians’ experiences are shaped by the same historic Hilltop campus in Mount Vernon, Iowa, yet each of us finds meaning and memory in a different slice of this varied and beautiful setting.

Today’s students, asked to name their favorite place, chose a diverse array of locations old and new, indoors and out. Some selections will be instantly familiar to all of us, and some reflect the latest advances at Cornell. Their descriptions of the Hilltop demonstrate a powerful sense of place.

And while you’re at it, check out the favorite places of seven alumni, too.

  • Kimmel-Theatre-Lobby

     “I love Armstrong Hall. The lobby outside of Kimmel Theatre has nice tables and glass walls. There is a lot of beautiful natural light and it never has too many people. It looks absolutely stunning on a sunny day. Studying there is perfect because when I need a break, I can step into a practice room and play music.” — Asher Muse, junior computer science and German major with an applied statistics minor

  • Cole-Library-Children's-Library

    “My favorite place on campus is the children’s room in the library; on a particularly stressful afternoon, it is such a comfort to sit in the window seat and study amidst the chaos of kiddos. It truly is a hidden study gem for any students interested in early education!” — Gabrielle Zeger, junior psychology specialist major

  • Hilltop-Cafe

    “My favorite place on campus is the Hilltop Café. It’s a place where I go to relax between classes, and it is also where I can talk to people I haven’t seen in a while or catch up with a friend. The café is probably one of the only places on campus that everyone consistently passes through, and that means more opportunities for positive social interactions with the great people we have here on our campus.” — Allison Krull, senior sociology major with minors in applied statistics and psychology

  • King-Chapel-spiral-staircase

     “My favorite place is the top stairwell on the outside of King Chapel. It is a very peaceful place and a great place to think. It is also out of the way enough that you will not receive much disturbance from others. It is especially nice at night when you can just look up and enjoy the night sky.” — Madelyn Strauss, first-year, undecided major

  • Ink-Pond

    “I lived in Tarr my freshman year, so Ink Pond has always been my favorite spot on campus. When the weather is nice, I like to go down and sit on the footbridge to do homework or hang out with my friends. It’s the most peaceful place on campus that I’ve found, and there’s even a family of geese that nests there in the spring.” — Paxton Andrada, junior anthropology major with a minor in ethnic studies

  • Van-Etten-Lacey-House

    "The Van Etten-Lacey House is my favorite place on campus. It’s so cozy and perfect to write in, but it also houses Open Field and SLAB [Student Literary Advisory Board], both of which I love and participate in. The kitchen is tiny but perfect, the couch and comfy section is very nice, the downstairs is spookily literary, and the outside is just gorgeous.” — Madeleine Koenigsberg, junior English literature major

  • Russell-Science-Center-lounge

    “My favorite spot on campus has to be the top floor of Russell Science Center. The windows facing the elementary school look out over the rolling Iowa hills, and the view is always in flux. From day to night, fall to spring, block to block, we as students are privileged to have a beautiful spot to study. Especially when the sun is setting!” — Brendan Langmack, senior chemistry major and physics minor

  • Cornell track

    “My favorite place on campus would have to be the outdoor track. I am part of the track team here at Cornell. Every time I step on the track, everything I’m stressed about leaves my mind.” — Shelby Williams, junior elementary education major with a minor in psychology