Top Five Outdoor Locations on Campus to Enjoy


Courtesy of Liz Thompson

St. Thomas of Villanova Church and the Pedestrian Bridge at sunset

Olivia Sabalaskey Staff Writer

Since many of us are learning online via Zoom, it is crucial to find a quiet place to study and complete our homework. Although dorm rooms are comfortable and make students feel at home, many also enjoy a change of scenery, especially in 2020. Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, many of us have had to stay inside and find new indoor hobbies to keep ourselves busy, like bread baking and binge watching television shows. 

However, now that Villanova students are able to be back on campus, spending time outside to study and enjoy each other’s company from six feet apart has become a daily joy and necessity. After months of a widespread lockdown, students enjoy soaking up some vitamin D, breathing in fresh air and admiring the surrounding beauty of favorite outdoor locations on Villanova’s campus. 

According to Villanova students, these are the top five outdoor locations on campus:

5.   Old Falvey Library Patio

One of the most recent additions to the new Mendel Field is the beautiful, serene Old Falvey Patio, located just outside the Reading Room. While some pass it by on their way to class on West Campus, many students stop to enjoy sitting in their portable chairs on the patio, looking out over Mendel Field and finishing some homework. This outdoor spot is perfect for morning contemplation while taking a sip of delicious coffee from Holy Grounds and watching the sunrise.

4.   The Grotto

Another peaceful outdoor spot many students enjoy on campus is the Grotto located between Austin Hall and St. Rita’s Hall. This Shrine to Our Mother of Good Counsel allows students to de-stress, offer a prayer, study and admire the surrounding natural beauty. During the holiday season, students enjoy going to see the Grotto’s stunning, hand-painted Nativity scene, especially at night. No matter the season or time of day, students are drawn to Villanova’s magnificent Grotto. 

3.   Sheehan Beach

Sheehan Beach, a favorite green space among Villanova students, stretches from the front of Sheehan Hall all the way to the St. Thomas of Villanova Church. Known for its open space, sweeping views and proximity to many popular academic buildings, Sheehan Beach attracts academic club members, intramural sports teams, impromptu picnics and photoshoots daily. Students enjoy spending time at Sheehan Beach with friends and classmates, especially now with the availability and popularity of portable chairs. 

 2.   Riley Ellipse or the “Oreo”

When asked how students would define the Oreo, the general consensus proclaims it as legendary. Whether students are meeting up for lunch after a long morning of classes or seniors are celebrating their graduation by taking pictures together, the Oreo always holds a special place in Villanovans’ hearts. Students and visitors alike sit around the Oreo, admiring it for its grandeur and the way that it brings the Villanova community together.  

1.   St. Thomas of Villanova Church

Undoubtedly, the St. Thomas of Villanova Church is the favorite among students and alumni. With the recent addition of the Pedestrian Bridge that connects the Commons and South Campus with Main Campus, students admire the beautiful architecture and magnificence of the Church. Villanovans praise it for its beauty and ability to instill a sense of wonder. A popular photo backdrop for graduation, engagements, weddings and other celebratory events that occur in Villanovans’ lives, the St. Thomas of Villanova Church is the crowning jewel and cornerstone of campus. 

Whether it’s spending time with loved ones, taking a walk outside or finding a new hobby, this year has taught us all to value the simple things in life. Students appreciate Villanova’s beautiful campus now more than ever given the uncertainty of 2020.