Our hearts ever hold you, NC State, in the folds of our love and pride.
— from the Alma Mater
When I am asked about my favorite NC State landmark, my response is always the same — the Memorial Bell Tower. The Bell Tower stands as a faithful sentinel, guarding our precious campus and standing proud as a continuous symbol of our great university. As most NC State students and alumni know, the Bell Tower was completed in 1937 as a way to remember and honor the NC State alumni who were killed in World War I. But, who would have thought in 1937 that this 115-foot-tall granite tower would become one of the most recognizable symbols and most cherished places on NC State’s campus?
The Bell Tower is the place to go after our beloved Wolfpack defeats one of our rivals. Students come together to see the Bell Tower turn lit up red, cheer on our victorious teams and wake the whole city of Raleigh with our chants of “WOLFPACK.” It’s where we go to take our “first day as a freshman” photos to appease our mothers, and it’s the place we come to bid farewell to our journey as an undergraduates. As our paths take us different ways after we graduate, the Bell Tower is the welcoming force that brings alumni back to Wolfpack Nation. The Bell Tower is the place where our official NC State rings spend the night before ring ceremonies. Throughout the night, our rings soak up that sense of Wolfpack love and pride that you can’t get anywhere else. When we put on our rings, we forever have a piece of Wolfpack spirit near our hearts.
The Bell Tower is near and dear to my heart. I have made so many memories at the Bell Tower that I will keep forever. The Bell Tower is where I became an official Alumni Association Student Ambassador. “Bell Tower Night” is the first night that our group comes together as one, made up of new and old ambassadors, as we embark on a new year of tradition, fun and friendship. It is also the place where my friends and I ran to after the Wolfpack men’s basketball team’s huge win over Duke in January 2010. The echoes of “WOLFPACK” and “RED”and “WHITE” reverberated throughout the night. It was a great night to be a Wolfpack fan (like it’s not great to be a Wolfpacker every day).
My blog post could go on forever if I continued to share my memories of the Bell Tower, so I’m going to stop while I’m ahead. Needless to say, the Bell Tower is special to each and every one of us.
Here are five other NC State places that I think everyone should see:
The Brickyard — The Brickyard is campus’ most trafficked area. It’s where old friends meet to grab lunch at the Atrium; it’s where organizations set up tables to spread the news about what they do; and it’s where students take a quick break to cram for the quiz in their next class. Numerous annual events take place throughout the year in the Brickyard like Shack-A-Thon, where students live in the Brickyard for an entire week in shacks that their organizations sponsor and build. Another favorite event is Agricultural Awareness Week, aka “Ag Week,” sponsored by Alpha Zeta. “Ag Week” enables students to learn about the NC State agricultural community with different farm animals in the Brickyard, examples of different types of farm equipment and displays on specific research that is being completed by our fellow students in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
Carter-Finley Stadium — I can promise that you have never felt such a rush of Wolfpack excitement, love, and pride until you experience a football game in the student section at Carter-Finley Stadium. As cliché as this sounds, when the fireworks go off, the band starts to play the Red and White song, and the players run out onto the field, I get goose-bumps from the roar of the crowd. Whether we are winning or losing, the student section never loses its excitement and support for our team. The student section is where all NC State students come together as a unified group to show their support for our fellow colleagues on the field. As we sing and sway to the Alma Mater, it is the one time where we, as students, do away with our judgments and prejudices and become friends with our neighbors. That too, gives me cold-chills. The student section offers something special to those who are fortunate enough to sit there.
Free Expression Tunnel — This is a special work of art on the campus of NC State. Filled with layers of paint, all types of messages, and an infinite number of designs, the Free Expression Tunnel allows students to express their thoughts with a can of spray paint. Some organizations come to advertise about their upcoming meetings, while other students paint “happy birthday” messages to their friends. The Free Expression Tunnel is a great place to come right before NC State plays that unmentionable team with the ugly shade of blue. The anti-Carolina jokes will leave you laughing for quite a while. The Free Expression Tunnel is a great way to see the many, talented workings of NC State students.
Howling Cow Creamery — If you haven’t tried the decadent flavors of NC State’s Howling Cow ice cream, you are missing out big time! The ice-cream is made on NC State’s campus in Schaub Hall. A recent addition to the D.H. Hill Library is NC State’s own Creamery. With over 18 flavors to choose from, the Creamery is bound to have something that appeals to everyone. Located in the west wing of the library, the Creamery gives students a sweet, study break, especially during exam week. The next time you have a craving for something sweet, go the Howling Cow Creamery. You won’t be disappointed!
The Dorothy and Roy Park Alumni Center — Nestled on the southern shore of Lake Raleigh, the Dorothy and Roy Park Alumni Center is home to the NC State Alumni Association and the State Club. Completed in 2007, the Park Alumni Center is in the running for the most beautiful building on either of NC State’s campuses. It’s the destination for reunions, post-game receptions, parties, seminars and the occasional walk down memory lane. It stands as the meeting place for alumni as they come back to Wolfpack Nation. If you haven’t made a visit to the Park Center, do it! Take a tour of the gorgeous building, meet the staff, grab lunch at the State Club and then head across the street and play a round of golf at the Lonnie Poole Golf Course. The next time you decide to come home to Wolfpack Nation, the Dorothy and Roy Park Alumni Center is waiting to see you with open arms. (I promise no one at the Alumni Association paid me to write about this. I truly love this building!)