A more perfect union
What the BMU can do for you
So you’re new to Chico State University. Classes are just about to start, and, boy, are you prepared! You’ve got your backpack and a three-ring binder complete with color-coded subject dividers (thanks, Mom). But wait—there was one other thing you needed … Sunglasses, check. Pez dispenser with lemon Pez, check. Post-it notes so you can hand out your number to all the gorgeous people who want to know you, check. … Oh yeah! Books. Still got to pick up a few of those.
No problem. Grab your handy-dandy study list and head on over to the Bell Memorial Union, affectionately known by corner-cutting patrons as the BMU. It’s a nifty place, completely rebuilt in the last couple of years courtesy of a $30 million bond passed by the students who came before you.
There you’ll find the Associated Students Bookstore. Enter with caution: The first floor of this textbook mecca is filled with tempting doo-dads and knick-knacks, from computer programs, snack foods and rental videos to all the assorted school pride clothing and paraphernalia your Wildcat heart desires. You might want to pick up a key chain or a nice school-colors pencil for the parents—after all, they’re at least part of the reason why you’re here. And while you’re at it, those sweatshirts look pretty good. …
But don’t get bogged down yet! Remember, you still have to make it up the stairs to get those pesky books. Helpful Hint No. 1: Bring a small moving truck with you if you’re planning to carry all of your books back at once.
Since you’re already there, and you do have the truck, don’t pass up the other wonders of the second floor. You want art? You got it—or at least all the stuff to make it, like those fancy pens and pencils and that special paper. And if you’re organized (i.e., if you’re a freshmen or a sorority girl), there are all kinds of neat gadgets to hold your papers, pens, disks, or bubble gum. Knock yourself out. Oh, and don’t forget calculators or bike lights. Helpful Hint No. 2: It’s typically dark out when you’re riding home from those three-hour night classes.
Now that you’ve got all your school supplies, you’re probably wondering to yourself: Why does everybody keep going into the BMU? Is there more?
Oh, you betcha. You’ve seen just the tip of the iceberg, my friend. For instance, did you know there’s a level of the BMU below this first floor you’ve entered? Oh, yes. The infamous lower level, or “basement,” as we sometimes code it, is a must-see.
It’s got a study lounge with a TV—you know, for all those media arts majors—and a bar of computers where students can check e-mail between classes. You can also go down there to check out Adventure Outings (home of river rafters and mountain climbers), A.S. Recycling, A.S. Presents, or that other institutional favorite, the game room.
I know, I know. You came here to study, darn it, and you don’t want any more distractions. You want to tear into those freshly purchased textbooks and devour the knowledge contained between their crisp covers. Have no fear. If you manage to get past Union Marketplace, where you can grab anything from a salad to Indian cuisine for a quick on-campus meal, and the BMU auditorium, home of great speakers and miscellaneous events, you’ll find yourself heading up to the second floor.
Here, along with the offices of student government and activities, A.S. business and administration offices, you’ll find a more serious study lounge, free of TV and/or stereo. Here you will not be tempted to shoot some pool or some bad guys in Mortal Combat XXVII.
Well, that’s it, you say. That’s the BMU. Now I know it all, you think, and you’re probably puffing out your chest and trying to pass yourself off as a seasoned Chico State student. That’s what you think!
But what about the third floor?
Yes, the magic of yet another level to this wonderland known as the BMU awaits you. Go on, climb that last flight of stairs. And your reward? That’s right! Not only have you found CAVE, the posh new headquarters of the campus service organization, but you’ve also stumbled upon Union Graphics, where graphic designers toil away. Last but certainly not least, you’ve discovered what could very well be the key to your academic success: the computer lab, where busy students type up 10-page papers day in and day out.
Now, Grasshopper, you are ready. I’ve armed you with the knowledge every Chico State student must have. You know where to go when you get an itch to go snowboarding or cook in a Dutch oven (answer: Adventure Outings, the basement). You know you don’t have to drive, bike, hitchhike, or play stowaway in somebody’s trunk when you want to rent Revenge of the Nerds or Space Dreams: The Best of William Shatner (bookstore, first floor).
Yes, my young schoolmate, you now hold the key to the Bell Memorial Union. You know that place like the back of your hand. Let me leave you with this last piece of helpful advice: If, for some strange reason, you find yourself forgetting the wisdom I’ve imparted to you and walking into the BMU with a drumming in your head and the terrible realization that you have no idea where to go get help designing a logo (answer: Union Graphics, third floor), there’s still hope for you.
Relax. Take a deep breath and maybe a mocha from the Primo Espresso cart in the galleria. Then walk on over to the Information Booth, conveniently located near the caffeine cart. The people there are trained in just this kind of emergency, and they won’t leave you hanging.
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