Duluth may be the only school in the world where students can study at a hockey rink.
The University of Minnesota Duluth Sports and Health Center includes a regulation size ice hockey rink with a glass-in study lounge overlooking center ice. The space features a lattice wood ceiling, carpeting, numerous small tables and odd-shaped upholstered chairs. It also has a view that would cost $300 a game at Madison Square Garden.
Call it a luxury box for scholars – or kids too lazy to make their way to the library.
Minnesotans like to do things by the water. We like to cook by the pool, run along the lakefront, and read at the beach. But most of the water up north becomes ice in December.
So it makes perfect sense students would gather around a skating rink to study Greek philosophy, finish a Sinclair Lewis chapter or finalize a digital marketing term paper.
I wonder if the place is as packed with students in May as it is in March?
I went to the College of St. Thomas in St. Paul. The school didn’t have an on-campus skating rink. My favorite place to study was its ancient limestone library. Creaky elevator. Drafty pane-glass windows. Fifth floor above the quad. Look up from a book and you felt like an air-traffic controller, directing students as they crisscrossed the green space below.
It was OK but I’d rather watch hockey.
It’s funny. The UMD Sports and Recreation Center is a bustling place. It includes the basketball gymnasium, athletic department administrative offices, classrooms and a bunch of other places I know nothing about. I was there to rent a bike from the Recreational Sports Outdoors Program.
But I was drawn into the study lounge overlooking the ice. There’s something magnetic about frozen water. Even though a busy hallway rushed along side it, the lounge seemed relaxed and quiet. Students peered into books, tapped on laptops or chatted in hushed tones. The glorious ice spread out behind the glass like Lake Calhoun with hockey boards.
I gotta think they were learning something.