If you’re new to Eastern, it can be daunting finding suitable places on campus to wind down and hang out with friends or on your own; but rest assured that there are plenty of locations that fit the bill perfectly. EKU has gone to great lengths to make sure students are comfortable and content with campus facilities, and that mentality extends to leisure as well as academics. If you find yourself with some extra down time, here are a few ideas on where to spend it.

On-Site Cafés

First and foremost, the obvious choice for small social meetups with friends or on your own are cafés. Eastern has several options for cafés on campus that are conveniently located in central areas of the university. On the first floor of the Powell building, you’ll find Starbucks; adjacent to the Crabbe Library is Java City; near the Whitlock Building is Einstein Bros.; and attached to the College of Justice and Safety is the Stratton Café. Each one has a different menu with different specialties, but they’re all ideal locations for a quick drink with a group or a quiet read with a book.

eSports Lounge & Rec Center 

One of the newest additions to EKU is the new Rec Center, barely a year old this semester. While the workout areas, the track, the walled-off pool patio, and the different flavours of sportsball courts all make for great outings in their own right, the eSports lounge of the second floor is made to be a hangout spot. A miniature arcade featuring mini cabinets from the Arcade 1-Up team (We have a freaking Outrun machine. Don’t lie, you’ve never seen one of those in the wild), a full competitive area with Alienware PCs, a TV area with several consoles, games, and ports for controller and add-ons, a golf simulator and an arcade-style basketball hoop make for an all-around great hangout area for groups interested in gaming or just looking to burn some extra time on Mario Kart or Smash Bros.

Stratton Pond

This one is actually a personal favorite of mine, largely because nobody else seems to go there. Behind the Stratton building, across the street from the Hummel Planetarium, there’s a little man-made pond with a few trees, a walking path around it, some metal picnic tables with steel umbrellas and a truly exorbitant number of ducks and geese. This is less of a place to go with a group of friends and more of a pretty area to hang out and destress. I’ve been going there regularly for upwards of four years now, and it’s not an exaggeration to say that it’s become my favorite place on campus. Walking on the trail alongside the ducks with some music or a podcast playing is always relaxing, but I would also encourage you to go in the early morning given the opportunity. In the early mornings, the trail around the pond becomes a cool, foggy and invigorating walk—the ideal way to start a day and wake up without overstressing. It’s also conveniently located right through the doors of the Stratton Café, so you can take a drink with you on the walk, or go in for a coffee when you finish. It’s an all-around good time.

There are always more potential hangout locations, like the common areas in the dorms or the Ravine on central campus, but these are a few of my personal favorites. If you have an area that you think other students would be interested in, feel free to let us know via Twitter at @easternprogress! We would love to hear from you.

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