Tag Archives: places on campus

Wrap Up

For our last post on Burnt Orange Living I decided to highlight several cool places to spend time around campus that the average student might not have visited yet or might have forgotten about. I asked a couple students where their favorite place is on campus and then added a few of my own favorites.

Lobby of the CMA

“I love this lobby because it’s such a collaborative place. It’s a little loud so it’s not exactly perfect for studying, but it’s a fun place to browse the internet or work on group projects.”- Jordyn

Littlefield House

“This place is cool because it’s a unique building and it’s one of the oldest buildings on campus.”- Maxwell Lincoln

Stairs by Dorothy Gebauer Building

“This is a really awesome place to do parkour, and one night I took my girlfriend up to sit on the top of the stairs and we had a nice time just sitting up there and talking.”- Drew Bean

Courtyard at Welch

“This is a really cool place to read a book or just listen to music and it’s pretty centrally located, which is nice.”- Jordyn

Union; 3rd Floor

“Everyone knows this is the best place for napping on campus”- Jessica Lauer

Battle Hall

“I really like the architecture library in Battle Hall because it looks legit and it’s quiet”- Lucio Gamboa

Courtyard at Mezes

“I’ve had several classes in Mezes and I love getting to this courtyard before  tests and sitting outside to get in a good mental state going into my tests”- Jordyn

Fine Arts Library

“My favorite place is the Fine Arts Library. The view is beautiful from the huge windows and it’s so much prettier than the PCL. Plus the chairs are super comfy and there’s a giant piano hanging from the ceiling.”- Stephani Clayton

PCL; 2nd Floor

“My favorite place to study is the PCL, 2nd floor main room. I like that the room is structured to be really open and bright. I also like that the PCL is open until 2 in the morning, which is great for people who enjoy studying late at night, like me. You’re free to bring food and drink so it’s fantastic for long periods of studying. However, you can also talk to other people too, which is great if you need a study break. Also, since there are so many people around, your stuff is less likely to get stolen if you get up and leave for a few seconds.”- Pauline Nguyen

Courtyard at San Jacinto

“When I used to live at San Jac last summer I loved sitting in that courtyard at night on a bench and listening to music and writing.”- Jordyn

Drink Coffee…Outside!

If you live or frequent west campus you’ve probably seen Good Bike Cafe, located at the Corner of 24th and San Gabriel, in the parking lot of Freewheeling Bicycles.

Photo by Drew Bean

It’s basically a trailer with a very friendly person inside, a canopy and some patio chairs. So, you can either get your coffee to go on your way to class or you can bring a book or companion and hang out a little while.

They offer a diverse menu including lattes, tea, hot chocolate, breakfast tacos from Cuatros, bagels, sandwiches and more.

Their most popular drink, however, is their cuban coffee, a shot of espresso with sweetened milk. It’s handy to carry and drink on the go since it comes in a smaller cup than normal espresso drinks, plus it’s absolutely delicious, although I must warn, a tad bit addicting as well.

Plus, in true Austin fashion, their products are almost all sourced locally and organically.

It is also important to note that their drinks run a bit cheaper than those of the ubiquitous Starbuckses around campus. My drink, a skinny vanilla latte, costs $3 at the Starbucks in the Union, and $2.50 at the Good Bike Cafe. Plus, you get a 25% discount if you arrive on a bike!

In order to learn more about the Good Bike Cafe I did a brief Q&A with owner and operator Robby Hanna.

Jordyn:Who started the Good Bike Cafe and why?

Photo by Drew Bean

Robby: Charlie Drozdyck had a vision of a coffee place with a funky kind of cool motif so he developed the idea of a coffee trailer. He made a relationship with the bike shop, Freewheeling Bicycles, had electricity installed, then got the place up and running last September. He later decided to move on to other things and sold the cafe to me.

Jordyn: What clientele does the Good Bike Cafe aim to reach?

Robby: People who love good beverages and great food

Jordyn: What makes the Good Bike Cafe special?

Robby: Well there are three things; the authentic quality of food and coffee, the quirky cool ambiance, including the music, and the genuine hospitality of the staff.

So if you haven’t yet, stop by some time and check the place out. They’re open every day except for Sunday, but Robby said the best time to stop by to relax and hang out outside is any time during the afternoon on a weekday.

P.S.- They now accept credit/debit cards!

Renaissance Market

This weekend, if you get a chance, I recommend stopping by the little market at 23rd and Guadalupe. Officially titled the People’s Renaissance Market, it is the only continuously operated open-air arts and crafts market in the country.

According to the history section on the market’s website, vendors began congregating along Guadalupe Street, also known as “The Drag”, during the summer of 1969 and soon the street was lined with hundreds of vendors. The market officially launched in 1973 when the city established a process for the vendors to purchase permits to sell their products after their work is verified as authentic.

Laura Esparza, the Cultural Affairs Division manager for the Austin Parks and Recreation Department, described the market as a “collective effort of a collective group to offer a unique shopping experience.”

Photo by Daniel Greene

On holidays and weekends the card table-filled plaza is populated with customers taking their pick from a wide array of hand-crafted goods including jewelry, paintings, t-shirts, photographs, and handbags, and other miscellaneous items.

Most of the items are really inexpensive and you’ll know you’re getting a unique product. But beware, many of the vendors only take cash so try to have a few bucks with you, or visit on of the ATMs along the drag.

It’s a really cool place to spend a few minutes on the weekends just browsing all of the cool and sometimes bizarre stuff for sale, especially when the weather is nice.

Also, a lot of the people selling stuff are really cool and fun to talk to. A lot of them will tell you all sorts of stories about the drag and the interesting stuff they’ve done.

One of these cool people is Randy Eckels, one of the long-time vendors. He began selling jewelry at the open-air market in 1976.

Randy, who has a beard almost down to his chest, said he picked up his jewelry-making skills while recovering from a car accident.  He is a silversmith and lapidary by trade, meaning he works with metals and gemstones.

Link Brunson is another jewelry vendor that can be found in the Renaissance Market. This dread-lock sporting fellow sells really awesome branded leather bracelets, mood rings, and hemp bracelets.

He and his wife, Pixie, set up shop at the Renaissance Market three years ago when they retired from guerilla vending, which he described as carrying all of his supplies around in his backpack and selling his jewelry without a permit while traveling the county.

So stop by the Renaissance Market sometime to have a true Austin experience and participate in some interesting conversations!

The Friendliest Man on Campus

Photo by University of Texas Division of Housing and Food Services

Shelton Willis is a key personality that can be found on the UT campus. He works at Kin’s Market in Kinsolving dormitory where he can always be seen smiling and chatting with the students. If you’re ever in need of a pick me up drop by the store and go through his check-out line.

Shelton arrives at Kin’s Market at 6:30 a.m. every weekday. He spends his first thirty minutes turning the lights on, stocking his cash register, and making sure the coffee pots are full. Once the doors open at 8 a.m. he’s ready to provide some of the best customer service you have ever seen.

His is the voice you can hear greeting every single student that walks through the doors by name and calling out, “Have a blessed day!” as they leave.

Shelton applied for the job working in the convenience mart on the University of Texas campus five years ago after seeing an ad in a local newspaper. The manager planned to offer him a position as a server in the Kinsolving cafeteria but Shelton said “I guess she could just see something in me” so she gave him the job in the jam-packed, busy market instead.

Shelton, a native Austinite and graduate of Reagan High School, said the busiest hours are between 8 and 10 a.m. and between 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. as students flood the store to pick up breakfast and then lunch in between classes.

He said that it can be a tough job but “once you get into a routine you can do it with your eyes closed.”

In the five years Shelton has worked at Kin’s Market he’s not only developed a routine, he’s fallen in love with the place. He said his job is “just so much fun it’s not even a job.”

“I miss the place when I’m not here, “ he said.

And the work he’s put into his job certainly hasn’t gone unnoticed.

Jessica Lauer, a sophomore at the University of Texas said, “He always makes my day because he’s always so upbeat.”

“It’s great, everyone knows him because he’s so friendly,” she said

Jessica said Shelton knows her by name despite the fact that she is just one of hundreds of students that make their way through the store every day to buy items like pens, bottled drinks, and pizza.

Shelton said it usually takes him two encounters with a student to memorize their name.  He said, “That’s the way it should be [the students] are like my family.”

Willis has practically become a part of the students’ family as well. He said he regularly gets letters from the parents of dormitory residents thanking him for taking care of their kids.

And parents aren’t the only ones taking note of his superb service. He’s won several awards and last year the Department of Housing and Food Services threw him a party after he received 250 votes for providing the best customer service on campus.