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The University of Utah isn't necessarily a traditional "college town", but a burgeoning arts, culture, restaurant and bar scene is just a two-minute bike ride down the hill from campus. If you don't want to do the bike thing, there's light rail -- known as "Trax" -- that connects the U with downtown and the rest of the valley. Trax is also nice for those living off-campus, which many students do. There is a business district adjacent to campus with more restaurants, record stores, bike shops and other retail, and there are plans for a mixed-use development just south of the U's football stadium, along the Trax stadium stop. Plans for this include residential, retail and food, anchored by a local brewpub, Squatter's. One of the real advantages of attending the U is the school's proximity to world-class skiing, snowboarding, mountain-biking, hiking and climbing. Salt Lake City was chosen as the host of 2002 Winter Olympics for a reason -- world-class resorts like Snowbird, Alta and Park City Mountain are less than hour from campus. Right behind campus is a network of hiking and biking trails that wind up into the Wasatch Mountains. Utah also has the highest number of golf courses per capita in the country, and with a nine-hole course right on campus, there's been many days in spring where I've been able to golf, ski and go to school all in the same day.
I spend most my time on the lower campus and most of my time in the dorms. People are sometimes surprised that I go to Utah. The recent controversy was that the RIAA sued 12 members for downloading music using file sharing. That was quite interesting. School pride happens at athletic events
The saddest realization about the University of Utah is that it is a commuter school. What that means is that most people drive to school like they would any job and then take off at the end of the day. This significantly depletes the "school spirit" available on campus, but I think the U realizes this and does a good job trying to "hedge its bets" so to speak. The fact is, generally I think the "college experience" is a little bit different that people generally have in mind when they think of college living. With that being said, I think there are some amazing things about the U that not a lot of other schools have. For one, I think the U has a beautiful campus. You're not going to find a lot of buildings that match, and something is almost always under construction, but there is grass and trees to keep things aesthetically pleasing. The ability to lawfully possess concealed weapons has to be one of the biggest issues on campus. Thankfully the state legislature made it illegal to openly carry weapons, but this is still a big issue that has many sides and it has been made into hot topic given the amount of campus violence that has been seen on various colleges around the country. The other special nuance of the U that makes it different from a lot of colleges outside of the state is that it is a "dry campus." Without a doubt, alcohol becomes a part of the scenery when you mix people that are on their own for the first time, with the fact that at some point during their college career, those people obtain the ability to legally purchase alcohol. One rumor that I will partially dispel is that Utah is a predominantly LDS population. If this is so, then it sure doesn't seem like it. Many ideas outside the LDS religionÑboth good and badÑare readily accepted on campus. Religion is definitely a part of many peoples' lives, but it is rarely discussed more than just a topic of interest that makes one person unique from another.
The best thing about Utah is by far the outdoors. If you are a person who enjoys any kind of outdoor recreation, the University of Utah is definitely for you. I, myself, enjoy mountain biking, and have chosen to stay in my home state for that reason alone. However, the biggest reason by far that many people come to Utah is for the awesome skiing. Nevertheless, whatever you do, if you love the Outdoors, Utah is for you. The University of Utah, although it consists of about 28,000 students, doesn't feel all that large when you're on campus. It's about a 20-minute walk across campus, and you tend to see people you know quite frequently on campus. However, if you prefer the small school classroom experience, with the big school feel, I would highly recommend the Honors Program. With it you get the best professors on campus, in classes that are capped at 40. It's a great way to get a great education at a large university. By far the biggest hangout on campus is the Union Building. From the lounges and quiet areas for study, to its delicious cafeteria, to its bowling alley downstairs, the Union is the place to be. Although the U is pretty sweet, it does have its bad sides. The University of Utah administration is currently in a stage of hypocrisy as they swing from one extreme of policy to another. They promote outdoor recreation, yet fail to maintain or even install sidewalks around all areas of campus. They promote cleanliness, yet the north side of the dormitory dining hall smells like rank garbage most of the time. They promote physical well-being, yet make students who actually live on campus walk twenty minutes across campus to the Field House if they wish to do ANYTHING with free weights. (I've lodged complaints with three different people in Housing, and not even one set of dumbbells has been added to the Dorm gyms.) Now, as much as walking across campus would seem to promote physical well-being, with Utah's frigid winters, it can sooner promote frostbite than it can a healthy heart. As a student living on campus, one of the biggest complaints I most frequently hear is that the food is disgusting. As any good marketer will do, the Housing and Residential Education director will tell you at Preview Day that the food is "delicious" and "prepared by gourmet chefs". And when the dining hall knows they are hosting future students, of course they will cook their food at its best, but most of the time, it leaves much, MUCH, to be desired. Nevertheless, living on campus with friends is quite an amazing experience, and so I will still live on campus and deal with the food again next year.
Name one thing you'd change: If I could change anything about Utah, I would have everybody be more open-minded. I preface my statement by saying that I have lived here my entire life and this problem has been evident for the whole of it. It seems that people here are either ignoring you completely, (that is, if you're a pedestrian!) condemning you based on religious beliefs, or just otherwise trying to get you to change your ways instead of being more tolerant themselves. The culture in Utah does not see the dangers in censorship and will not hesitate to shut down people and ideas which do not conform with Church Doctrine. Even in spheres (such as a University) where religion should not have influence over policy somehow a religious agenda continues to be inserted into everyday life. The Best thing about Utah: The cost of living in Utah is very cheap. I'm buying a condo downtown for less than $100,000 where in a more metropolitan city I'd have to pay at least triple that for a much worse and smaller place.
- Its air quality may not be at its prime, but overall, Utah is a beautiful, incredibly diverse and quiet state. It truly has something to satisy everyone. From newlyweds, to young families, to older families, big and small, to singles who crave partying,
Annie SophomoreReviews provided by: Unigo