During my undergraduate years BGSU exploded, as baby boomers flooded the campus. New buildings sprouted throughout the campus. The beautiful Oak Grove Cemetery, which stood at the edge of the campus when I arrived, was totally surrounded by the campus by the time we left in 2000.
My freshman year I sat on a dumpster and watched the Ohio Governor break ground for an 11-story library. It was a most welcome update. To even look at a book in the old library, students had to line up at a window, fill out a form and hand it to a student runner who would descend into the lower levels to retrieve it – assuming it wasn’t already checked out. Massive rows of card catalogue drawers filled with thousands of 3×5 index cards had to be consulted to find any book — an extremely time-consuming and challenging system. Little did I realize how many thousands of hours I would spend in the new library over the next 35 years.
My sophomore year I resided in Harshman Hall, a new dormitory with only two students assigned per room. What a luxury! The rooms were about the same size as our freshman ones, with half the number of occupants. During my freshman year I had become good friends with George Ulrich. We had many common interests and decided to room together the next year.
Of course, bathrooms were down the hall, and we ate in a large common cafeteria. For a while I worked in the cafeteria, mostly clearing tables and washing dishes. In those days we paid one flat fee for both room and board. My first year the total was about $1,100. This included not only tuition and room, but also the “all you can eat” cafeteria plan. Folks working in the cafeteria referred to it as the “all you can waste” plan. Disgustingly huge piles of food went to the trash every day.
Those of us who bussed tables also had to contend with pranksters who took delight in turning glasses of water or milk upside down on their trays, creating a mess for the poor soul who had to remove the tray. (I won’t explain how this prank is done, as I’m certain some of you couldn’t resist trying it.) Today’s dorms and cafeterias look more like high rise condos, with high quality food bars offering various dining options. The food is healthier, with an “a la carte” price scheme. I hope this has reduced the amount of waste!