La Verne Magazine
"The University of La Verne: A Day in the Life"
Burning the Midnight Oil
by Jennifer Phillips
photography by Rhidian Maehl
Bathed in the flood lights, this early morning Founders Hall Third Street
sidewalk scene takes on a pastoral appearance.
At midnight, the cranking sounds of music fill the University of La
Verne Student Center. But there isn't a party or a disc jockey in sight,
just the big screen television.
The Student Center is closed. During school hours, everybody from Oprah
to the Los Angeles Dodgers graces the big screen, but after the final ping
pong game is played and the last mile is run on the treadmill, MTV rules
and so does the cleaning crew.
As an early pre-blond Madonna rock video is playing "Crazy For
You," Robert Terry, a custodian for Marriott Management, is sweeping
up a collection of bubble gum wrappers, junk mail and dust from a day of
"From midnight until I'm off, the music will be loud," he
says. For Terry and his co-workers, the music helps them get through the
night. Terry starts his workday at 6 p.m. and will end at 1:30 a.m. He breaks
at 8 p.m. for 10 minutes and will eat lunch at 10 p.m. Tonight he is having
burger and fries from the popular fast food joint, In-N-Out.
While Terry is busily cleaning the Student Center, the lights are on
inside the Communications Department. Inside are Dr. George Keeler, Communications
Department chair, Mike Laponis, associate professor of communications, and
Eric Bishop, Campus Times adviser.
With tousled hair, Keeler accurately inputs the final touches on the
Department's strategic plan implementation for the upcoming faculty retreat.
"It's a big trade show," he says.
Around the corner is Bishop browsing through past editions of the paper.
Laponis is sitting in his office that is adorned with practically every
radio station's bumper sticker. "I'm working on school stuff,"
he says. The "school stuff" is an upcoming midterm for his video
production class. Laponis anticipates it will take him another 20 minutes
before he is finished.
Meanwhile, in front of Founders Hall, huddled together like a wild pack
of animals around their prey are Delta Sigma Phi pledge sophomores Phil
Jackson, John Keller and James Free and junior Bill Baccus. They are painting
the Rock. In between stints of laughter and shouts of encouragement to one
another, the four men continue to work on their task in the chilly night.
"We are using our fraternity's colors, black, green and gold,"
After hours, the small campus has its moments of life. David Randall,
a senior political science major, is roaming the campus after the midnight
closing of the computer lab in Founders Hall. Randall is looking for the
nearest telephone to call for a ride home. He has spent the evening in the
computer lab working on his upcoming midterm project for Dr. Richard Gelm's
Inside Founders Hall, the chatter of conversation and the traffic of
students and professors coming and going are gone. "During finals week,
there is a lot more activity," Randall says.
Freshmen business majors Wilson Ling and Jeff Gleason are lounging on
a bench near the University Mall. Both men who are members of the soccer
team are outdoors getting some "fresh air" and "relaxation"
for tomorrow afternoon's game.
Nearing 1 a.m., three couples are sprinkled out on the grassy area
near Woody Hall, engaged in intimate conversation. The usually condensed
parking along Third Street has dwindled down to a fraction as the night
rolls on and the 2 a.m. car curfew nears.
With his Gatorade in hand, Brian Krug, Brandt resident and freshman
communications major, winds in and out of rooms and up and down stairwells
much like being in a maze. "I'm seeing what's going on," Krug
While on rounds, second floor resident assistant Rob Northrup handles
the never ending battle of the propped door along the north entrance on
the second floor. After Northrup unprops the door and proceeds down the
stairwell, he proclaims, "The nightlife is here.
Kisha Dent, a junior criminology major, coming from a late night run
to Del Taco, disagrees. "I don't have to be at work until 1 p.m., and
there's nothing else to do," she says. "Everybody is either at
Stu-Han, the SAE party or at the Santana concert."
With every minute edging closer to 2 a.m., the halls of Stu-Han Residence
Hall contain a handful of men and women running through each wing screaming.
While the women playfully scream, the men charge on. Others are in the lounge
chatting. During these late hours, it's not unusual for residents of Stu-Han
to be wide awake. "I'm used to being up this late," says La Shon
Mitchell a freshman biology major, in the study lounge.
Over at the Oaks, in D-Bottom lounge, residents Michael P. Bailey and
Tamara Loyd are studying. "I find it hard to sleep because my roommate
snores," he says.
On the other side of campus, there is no sign of the rumored ghost
of Founders Hall haunting the empty building; the faint smell of cleaning
products and the noise of a vacuum are the only signs of activity in the
old building. But on the third floor, a computer lab door is open and directly
across, is Brian Tresner, network manager of the computer lab. As the hit
"Faithfully" softly plays in the background, Tresner repairs a
fragmented disk. Tresner does not expect to be finished with the disk for
another 13 hours but is optimistic about his long night ahead.
"I brought my pillow and cover," he says.
As the song ends, the University is rolling over and falling into a
deep sleep.Virtually every parking lot is empty, with the exception of the
residence halls. The dark night is settling over the small campus.
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