The Top 10 Spaces for Reflection at UMD

By: Connor Davies ’14, Public and Community Health, CRS Communications Assistant

Our campus can sometimes feel like a city – people everywhere, constant motion and lots of noise. In fact, at certain points in the day, there are upwards of nearly 35,000 people on campus. In addition to people, think about all the other noises we have surrounding us on a daily basis – construction, cars, buses, and even the music we play in our earbuds.

Needless to say, peace and quiet can be rare commodities around here. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t lots of great spots to find some quiet space to reflect, meditate, and center ourselves. We’ve rounded up a few of our favorites below.


Match the numbers on the map to the list below to find our favorite quiet spots on campus!

1. Garden of Reflection and Remembrance

garden_collageYes, this may seem a bit predictable but the garden outside the memorial chapel is so zen, it had to make the top of the list. It was literally created and designed for reflection, peacefulness and general sense of quiet. There are gurgling fountains, a winding labyrinth, benches with journals tucked underneath just waiting to be filled with your thoughts and worries, and a nearby tree that is just great for climbing.

2. The oasis outside of Skinner Hall

Skinner Oasis_cropWhen looking for a peaceful oasis in the middle of campus, this little space tucked away behind Skinner Hall fits the bill. The way the building wraps around this nook creates a barrier, blocking out most of the noise from the surrounding area. A few picnic tables, beautiful landscaping and the afternoon sun make this a nice place to stop for lunch, to study or for a quiet moment to yourself.

3. Brick bench hideaways throughout campus

Brick BenchIf you ever want to mess with someone on campus asking for directions, tell them to take a left at the brick building. Seriously, we have so much brick it could be our mascot. But brick does have its advantages, such as its ability to be built into hidden benches all across campus. Some can be found off of the Mall hidden among small side gardens and more can be found off of the Washington Quad. Take some time and sit down on one of these hidden gems and just think for a while.

4. Claire Smith Performing Arts Center Library

Clarie Smith Library_cropThis cozy little library off the beaten path offers what some of the larger, more populated libraries cannot. There’s lots of light, tall ceilings, a comfortable atmosphere and it is always pleasantly warm. It may not be the best for those who are easily overheated, but it’s otherwise perfect to settle in to for a serious study session.

5. The Mall

The Mall_cropDuring class change, McKeldin Mall gets kind of crazy. But, in between those times it can be wonderfully deserted.  With plenty of room to stretch out, it is the perfect place to take a nap in the sunshine and chill . We particularly love the benches lining the ODK fountain.

6. Patio on the 2nd floor of McKeldin

2nd floor patioThis little known perch can be accessed from the not-so-quiet second floor learning commons after walking through a study room. Once outside, there are only about 4-5 tables and a few chairs guaranteeing that it will never become too crowded or loud and the view of the mall is amazing.

7. School of Public Health concourse

SPHIf we’re being honest, the SPH concourse used to be reminiscent of an airport, only it had even fewer outlets and less comfortable seating. With the vast improvements made this year, the space has a whole new feel. There are about 100 new outlets, couches, giant white boards and a fresh coat of paint. While it has been more populated since the renovations, the sheer size of the place swallows much of the noise.

8. Tables outside Bio-Psych

bio-psychIf you are looking for the best place to people watch on campus, the picnic area outside of the Biology-Psychology might be calling your name. Situated right off of Hornbake plaza, there are a couple dozen tables and chairs set up in a mulched area where you can have lunch with a friend, study outside, or enjoy the sound of the nearby fountain in the warmer months.

9. The ERC natatorium

natitoriumThis might sound crazy, but don’t count it out. Any swimmer will tell you that even though the indoor pool can get distractingly loud, once your ears are underwater you are in a world of your own. There is even such a thing as meditative swimming, where the repetitive motions of the stroke and the measured breathing of the swimmer can create a peacefulness that reduces stress and encourages mindfulness.

10. You tell us!

you tell us_collage

Share with us! What’s your go-to spot for some peace and quiet on campus? Help us round out this list to 10 by letting us know in the comments below.

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