Spring is here, so it’s prime time to visit outdoor spaces on our beautiful campus. Time outdoors is seen to have positive physical, social, and mental health benefits, and align with recommendations of the University’s LiveWell mission to support employee wellbeing. We’ve created a selection of recommendations - some are old favorites, some are brand new, and some you may never have seen. We’d love for you to share your favorite outdoor campus places. Go to our Staff Council Facebook page and join the conversation.
Time outdoors is seen to have positive physical, social, and mental health benefits, and align with recommendations of the University’s LiveWell mission to support employee wellbeing. Recommendations include getting 3-5 minutes of mindfulness or meditation daily, time for positive reflection, scheduling active meetings, and getting up out of your chair and looking beyond your computer multiple times throughout the day.
Here is our list:
The River Walk along the Iowa River is a great place for a break, to clear your mind, and embrace nature in the heart of campus. Whether taking in the natural sounds allowed by the early morning quiet, watching the rowing team practice from the Hancher or IMU footbridges, an afternoon stroll past the iconic Art Building or silver-sided IATL building, or watching glowing lights of campus twinkle off the water in the night sky, the River Walk offers a unique vantage point to appreciate Iowa City.
The west side of the Old Capitol is one of the best spots on campus to take in the sunset and soak in the day’s last rays of warmth. The steps leading up to the Old Capitol, surrounding stone benches, the footings of the building pillars, and the west lawn offer plenty of seating choices for picturesque views during the golden hour. On a warm night, you may bump into a familiar face at the popular location.
On the west side of campus between the new Pharmacy Building and the Bowen Science Building you’ll find a little hidden glen. Heading west on the footbridge where Iowa Avenue turns into Newton Road, the paved walkway continues into a natural setting. You can often see birds flying between the tall trees and foliage in the fall along the quarter mile path. While there are a few turnoffs, if you follow the trail to the end, you’ll reach a set of stairs that climbs to Grand Avenue near the Pharmacy Building and the Field House.
- + 5. We also have two new mini plazas for getting outside on campus. Across from the Main Library and below the Seamans Center (where the Communications Center used to be) is a recently completed area with several tables with seating and umbrellas. There is a similar option on the far east side of campus at the location of the former Seashore Hall, which was razed last year. Along the walkway between Iowa Avenue and Jefferson Street are several tables. The greenery is still coming in at both locations, but they make ideal spots for lunch, to meet with a colleague, or read a book over a breaktime.