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Josephine von Dohlen | Col­legian

A hidden treasure lies just 68 miles southwest of Ann Arbor. Behind a little neigh­borhood, off of Michigan Highway 99, Hillsdale College sits upon a hill over­looking the city.  

Each of its stu­dents tells his or her unique story about what led them to this place, and each has their own reasons as to why this place holds their heart. But they all boil down to the fact that Hillsdale College brings together people from all over the world and wraps them in a campus and com­munity that stu­dents and pro­fessors alike call home.

The mem­ories made at each spot on the little campus of Hillsdale form this home away from home that makes the long nights of hard work all worth­while.

Those who know Hillsdale love it for all that it embodies. Here’s a little glimpse.

1. Central Hall

In the middle of campus sits pic­turesque Central Hall. A beau­tiful bell tower sits atop this building that was orig­i­nally built in 1853. Walking to classes and falling asleep at night in the dorms just wouldn’t be the same without the chimes at every quarter-hour; a familiar call to study and per­severe through the thick of it.

Central Hall also serves as every Hillsdale girl’s “engagement location goal”. Getting pro­posed to over­looking the campus where you spent the best days of your life? Yes, please.

2. AJ’s Cafe

Whether it’s the chicken que­sadillas or the after-exam ice cream scoop, the curly fries or the essential coffee fix, AJ’s is another envi­ronment that makes Hillsdale, Hillsdale. At any hour stu­dents can be found studying or simply enjoying one another’s company.

The place where every Hillsdale couple had their first date and where chess club takes over the tables on Friday after­noons; where someone is always talking too loud and where The Col­legian is spread out over mul­tiple tables; where the tables are so close together that one can hear the latest gossip whether they like it or not; AJ’s is the melting pot of Hillsdale culture.

3. Knorr Family Dining Room

Let’s face it, Hillsdale is a place where stu­dents can walk in the Cafe­teria — affec­tion­ately named “Saga” after the food provider prior to today’s Bon Appetit — anytime and can guar­antee that they will rec­ognize a familiar face. For those meals that turned from half-hour con­ver­sa­tions to let’s‑fit-20-people at this one table and laugh until we cry until we get kicked out, Saga serves a crucial part of the Hillsdale expe­rience.

It’s the under­lying assigned seats that form this com­munity. The long tables to the left are reserved for the ath­letes, the booths for the “Hills­dating” couples and those meeting with pro­fessors, the dorms, soror­ities and fra­ter­nities, and Arts people take over the round tables, and who even knows who sits in the long tables to the far right.

From Taco Tuesdays to Pasta Bar Fridays to Omelettes for Brunch on the weekends, Saga is just an extension of your mom’s home cooking, or isn’t it?

4. Student Population

Sitting at 1,490 under­grad­uates, Hillsdale is cat­e­go­rized as a “small college.”

Everyone knows everyone’s business, which can be good, or bad.

Fitting in line with the typical Cau­casian middle-class con­ser­v­ative stereotype, it makes sense that one can find at least twenty guys with the name Joshua or Alexander and twenty girls with the name Catherine/Katherine and another dozen girls named Erin.

Stu­dents can expect to rec­ognize 90 percent of the people they walk by on their way to class and often exchange a smile with that person they don’t know, but always smile at anyway. And it is this smile that goes from one person to the next and gives Hillsdale some of the hap­piest stu­dents.

5. The Library

Part of the Hillsdale expe­rience is a rig­orous edu­cation that often per­meates into every aspect of the Hillsdale student’s life. One example of this is the campus library. Having three levels, starting with the ground level and descending, this serves as the perfect spot to spend thou­sands of hours pur­suing one’s degree.

Required reading of the first Great Books Course, Dante’s “Divine Comedy” serves as the inspi­ration for the names of these three levels: Heaven, Pur­gatory, and Hell.

Heaven allows for quiet talking which occa­sionally turns into roars of laughter from those groups in the middle tables who have way too much fun in the library. Pur­gatory is mostly silent and still has the windows allowing some sun­light to shine upon the stu­dious. But it’s Hell that one dare not speak or even open their mouth, let alone breathe. People only ever go in when they have a paper due tomorrow that they haven’t started…and heaven only knows if they come out alive.