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the Last Word

View from a Red Chair

by JENNIFER POST STOUDT

It's amazing how peaceful campus can be in the summertime—the gentle breeze blowing, the leaves rustling—until BAM!, a crane drops a boulder into a heap of rubble, while a construction worker in a yellow fluorescent T-shirt and orange hard hat fires up a jackhammer.

On a hot and humid July day as I sat on campus in one of Albright's comfy red Adirondack chairs, campus was anything but quiet. A handful of college students toting backpacks and listening to iPods occasionally walked by on their way to and from their summer session classes. Their IPods presumably dulling the crashing and screeching of heavy machinery breaking up cement
and hauling rocks in front of the Campus Center, where phase one of the construction on Founders Walk is underway.

Part of the College's Master Plan, Founders Walk will be a walkway connecting Albright's long, narrow campus and winding from the Albright Woods to Union Street, with seating and spaces designed to invite gathering along the way. (For more information about the project, visit http://www.albright.edu/news/releases/july/founders.html )

But the noise doesn't seem to bother a group of nine youngsters creating mosaic masterpieces with colorful tiles and Elmer's glue, who are working near the Mary Miss sculpture at the Center for the Arts. Campers with the Albright Junior Explorers day camp, some work intently with Beth Krumholz, interim curator of education for the Freedman Gallery, while others decide that the Mary Miss sculpture makes a dynamite jungle gym. That is, until they are asked to please not climb there. As I scribble some notes down in my notebook I hear an excited voice shout "Mommy!" My six-yearold son Nicholas spotted me. Running toward me, eyes wide, arms outstretched with a grin from ear to ear, he gives me the biggest hug ever. He's excited to see me and show me his masterpiece.

After three more hugs, five kisses and two high fives, Nicholas scampers off with his camp buddies and I go back to jotting notes down, my heart bursting with joy from having seen my little guy.

After a minute or two I realize that the construction crew must have taken a break. All I hear is the faint beep, beep, beep of a red Albright facilities truck backing down the "Yellow Brick Road."

Taking a moment to enjoy the quiet, I lay my head back, close my eyes and enjoy the warmth of the sun on my face, until a faint "Excuse me" prompts me to sit up and open my eyes. "Where's the Admission Office?" asks a woman in her 50s, on behalf of her petite, timid daughter who stands beside her. The woman clutches a "Faces of Albright" brochure, so I know they've arrived for a
campus tour.

Welcoming them to Albright, I stand up to point them in the right direction and wish them an enjoyable visit.

But before heading into the Admission Office they ask what's going on over at the Schumo Center for Fitness and Well-Being and the residence halls. While I can't see them from my chair, when I walked along 13th Street earlier I saw swarms of tall, teenage boys sporting baggy nylon shorts, blue T-shirts with a basketball emblem, and shower shoes with socks. Unloading bags and pillows from family cars with mom, dad and siblings nearby, their faces showed a mixture of apprehension and excitement over the idea of being on their own for a week.

Today is check-in day for Hoop Group Elite, the nation's top exposure camp for high school basketball players.
More than 650 high school boys representing 20 different countries checked in today, along with another
150 Hoop Group staff, counselors and directors. Over the summer Albright's campus is host to 23
camps and conferences. With camps ranging from athletics to art to music, approximately 5,000
campers will spend time at Albright this summer.

Feeling a little bit sunburned, I decide to wander around to the library plaza where a young
woman sits under a shade tree, a Kindle in one hand and a sandwich in another. She's
so engrossed in her reading that she doesn't even notice that I've sat down on a bench
just a few feet away. It's peaceful and calm on the library plaza as a gentle breeze blows…

BAM! The construction crew is back on the job.

Quiet on campus in the summer? Not so much.


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