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Summer 2009 Vol. VII, No. 4

Blissed Out

The AUB Tradition

Students weigh in on their favorite traditions in 2009.

To many people in Lebanon and across the Middle East, AUB is a center of academic excellence and a hub of free intellectual thought in the region. Its reputation has been sealed by the scores of prominent political leaders, journalists, and academics who received their education at its leafy campus. But what does AUB mean to those people, and to others who study here? What are the traditions and customs that make the university experience unique and help to form the life-long memories of those who study at AUB? Every college has them: the University of Leeds in England has a fancy dress pub crawl called the Otley Run; the Sorbonne is known for student activism; and Harvard has a rite of passage known as the Primal Scream, a midnight streak through the Old Yard that takes place on the night before exams begin. With this in mind, we asked five students about their AUB memories.

Karma | Graphic Design
I will always remember staying up all night working in the architecture and design studios. We all do it. It’s the only building that stays open 24/7 because people in our department usually have a lot of deadlines and need access to the studios. I’ve often walked up the stairs to the Medical Gate at 5 or 6 in the morning as the sun is coming up, or sometimes I just crash out on the couches in the lounge of our building. It doesn’t feel like much fun at the time, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Lea | Landscape Design and Eco-Management
As a landscape design student, I know how lucky we are to enjoy the variety of vegetation and wildlife we have at AUB. It’s really an oasis of greenery in the middle of Beirut. There’s space to breathe here. I like to sit and relax in the shade of the trees, or hang out with friends on the lower campus by the sea. I can see why it’s sometimes called the most beautiful campus in the world and it’s nice that as AUB students we get to benefit from it every day.

Ali | Business
It may not be obvious at first, but every group at AUB had their own place on campus to hang out. I lived on campus for the first year, which was an amazing experience, and at that time everyone used to lie out on the Green Oval sunbathing and studying. In my junior year, we were outside West Hall. Now in our final year, we like to sit with friends under the trees by the Main Gate. Of course, most people go to the AUB Beach as well during the summer. Each place has its own memories.

Ria | Arab and Middle Eastern Studies
Lebanon is a culinary heaven and Bliss Street offers a little taste of it. It may not be the most sophisticated food in Beirut, but sometimes there is nothing like grabbing a shish taouk sandwich and going to sit under the shade of a tree on campus, fending off all the cats. When I return to the US, I’ll always remember going out late at night with friends after a long study session to grab an ice cream from Bliss House or a cup of coffee from Abu Naji.

Amal | Nutrition
What is special about AUB, in my opinion, is its diversity. Everyone that comes to study here gets to meet people from different backgrounds and cultures every day, which is not common in Lebanon. People come from all over the world to study at AUB, so we have a lot of variety in our student body and everybody can learn from each other. I think that this is what sets the University apart, and what I will remember most.

C.A.