A senior’s reflection on the seven great wonders of Villanova



Claire O' Halloran

One of the defining characteristics of our beloved University is the sense of school spirit that buzzes around campus and lights up the faces of the blue-and-white clad student body.  Love runs deep for our Wildcats, perhaps more so than ever after becoming that little thing we call “Natty Champs.”   

With or without the title of National Champions, though, Villanova gives us a lot to love. This past weekend, when prospective new students flipped through the ‘Nova Nation pamphlet at admitted students day, they saw images of the most iconic Villanova landmarks. The new students saw photos of a smiling Father Peter, kids draped over the Oreo, and on-campus events in the quad, similar to the photos I saw four years ago.

In addition to these printed well-known wonders, there are also the little wonders of Villanova that are just as important. So, to give credit to the little guys, the following are the seven great wonders of Villanova, in no particular order, as according to a second semester senior. Go ‘Cats. 


It’s difficult to remember a time before this beautiful haven of Mexican food and margaritas popped up on the Main Line. It’s given us more than just burrito bowls—it’s given us a place for the masses to thrive in their Villanova community, all while enjoying the health benefits of synthetic melted cheese.  

Qdoba also gets a special shoutout for housing ‘Nova students as they watched our basketball team beat UNC. The Mexican food joint has a little piece of Villanova history.  So thank you, Qdoba, for satisfying our stomachs, sheltering our friends and saving our wallets with your $2.50 margaritas.  

The Parking Garage 

Not all wonders are wonderful. The parking garage gets a spot on this list for keeping students on their toes. Forget classes at the #1 business school, nothing sharpens your instincts more than dodging a 40 mile per hour Jeep whipping around a corner. 

The parking garage helps us in more ways than one, though.  It improves memory, forcing you to remember which floor and aisle it was that your still-asleep self parked for that Thursday morning class.  It tones legs, with a three-floor climb that main lot can’t compete with. And, finally, it stands as a memorial for tailgates past. R.I.P, Pike lot, gone but not forgotten. 

*Kelly’s Taproom

All hail the Villanova bar that resurrected itself for the class of 2017’s last year. The beauty of a bar with three levels is sometimes too much to handle in the context of Main Line bars, but it seems the August 2016 whispers of “It’s a Kelly’s” year actually came true.  

Kelly’s is a sanctuary that offers drink deals, a line that actually moves and DJ’s that would rather lose an arm than not play Whitney Houston’s “I Want To Dance With Somebody” at least once a night. Why would it ever not be a Kelly’s year? 

The Bartley Exchange

Bartley Exchange or Curley Exchange, I can’t be sure because I prefer to call it the Jungle. This madhouse is a sea of people rushing, elbows jabbing and eyes glaring, all in an effort to secure one of the limited tables with access to an outlet. Not lucky enough to get an outlet seat? Then you can enjoy your time studying in what feels like the center of a fishbowl, with all eyes watching as you try and keep the wheels on your chair from spinning out on that slick marble ground.


A hallway with a bathroom at the end. But also a hallway with a bathroom at the end that is littered with pictures and graffiti of Villanova alumni and is a staple of nightlife at Villanova. On the big nights with a line that barely moves, it’s a victory to throw open that wooden door and order yourself a “Nova Bomb.” And maybe the small size is strategic—you’ll know exactly where your friends are the minute you walk in. 

*Erin Pub 

No, there’s not a typo. Yes, this glorious little bar’s green and white sign reads “Erin Pub” and not “Erin’s Pub.” Home to karaoke Sundays, Dr. Pepper bombs, and an underappreciated air hockey table, it may not be in the Villanova brochure, but it sure as heck holds the hearts of the many students who don’t have the patience for waiting in line. 


It has staircases that lead nowhere, bathrooms that might as well be hidden, and a basement that I did not know existed until senior year.  It is a curious, curious place that has been around for over a century. 

Now that the Exchange looks like a modern office lounge room, maybe it’s time to throw those arts and science students a bone and do some redecorating. 

How is this building still standing? It’s a wonder. 

*These wonders are only accessible to Villanovan’s 21 and over crowd.