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EDITORIAL: Rutgers rundown: best, worst of campus life

The Daily Targum ranks New Brunswick campuses

Varying opinions on the best and worst of Rutgers—New Brunswick student centers and housing come together in the ranking below. – Photo by Elliot Dong

Arguments often abound regarding the best and/or worst of the five New Brunswick campuses: the College Avenue, Livingston, Busch, Cook and Douglass campuses. Here are The Daily Targum's top picks for student centers and housing options.

Student Centers:

1. The Livingston Student Center, esteemed for its central campus location and its multifunctional spaces, offers expansive areas for both events and club meetings. This is complemented by the several aesthetically pleasing study environments, such as the naturally lit Coffee House ideal for quiet study.

If you are in a more boisterous mood, the Rutgers Zone provides just the right setting for hanging out with friends. Steps away from the Livingston Dining Commons, the student center caters to diverse needs with dining options like Sbarro and Dunkin' located right inside.

2. The Busch Student Center comes in at number two for this particular ranking. Home to the Esports Center and the Interfaith Meditation Room, Busch has something for everyone. The Cove, a beautiful study space, allows students to have quiet study time, while numerous rooms often host various club meetings. Unfortunately, this student center can become somewhat congested and noisy, although the central grand piano often adds a pleasant ambiance.

There are several dining options that can be accessed within the center itself, such as Gerlanda's Pizza and Cafe, Moe's Southwest Grill, Panera Bread and Szechwan Ichiban. Further advancing this convenience is the Busch Dining Hall, which is directly adjacent to the student center.

3. The Douglass Student Center, ranking third, offers a charm distinct from its more modern counterparts like Livingston and Busch. Conducive to peaceful study, it features a quieter, cozier atmosphere. While it seems to be primarily utilized for hosting club meetings, it serves a unique role within the campus community.

Dining options like Douglass Cafe and Red Pine Pizza, which both accept meal swipes, help to mitigate the fact that it is located a considerable distance from the nearest dining hall. But the location is not all negative, as the proximity to Passion Puddle and the lush green lawn across the street make it an ideal spot for relaxation and socializing with friends during the warmer months.

4. Ranked fourth, the Cook Student Center features a striking spiral staircase in one corner leading to an area designated for Ping Pong and Billiards. The space offers several well-maintained study spots, though admittedly there are fewer of them than other student centers.

As for dining options, Cook Cafe, accepts meal swipes and lies within close proximity to Neilson Dining Hall. The primary drawback is its location. Situated on Cook, it is less frequented by the broader student body who do not reside or have classes on Cook — many students have never visited due to its remote position.

5. Rounding out the ranking is the College Avenue Student Center, a longstanding fixture of College Avenue for more than 60 years. The center, while rich with history, lacks the modern updates necessary for such a space, with an aging elevator and less appealing study spaces.

Previously popular food venues like Wendy's and Subway have been replaced by the Atrium, focussing on meal swipe options. While the student center may be predominantly used for hosting events rather than studying, its central location on College Avenue remains vital, as it is closely connected to the vibrant life and diversity of the area.


1. In terms of housing, Busch ranks first. The variety of housing options offered include numerous suites, traditional residence halls and B.E.S.T. Hall, for which the name is quite fitting. A significant advantage of the campus is that students have a high likelihood of securing their preferred housing accommodation. But the campus' drawback is that it tends to lack activities in terms of weekend entertainment unless you plan on leaving.

2. Taking the second spot for housing is College Avenue. From the modern and conveniently located Sojourner Truth Apartments to the less desirable "River Halls," there is a wide diversity in housing options. But despite this disparity, the historical College Avenue maintains its central significance within Rutgers University, being the campus where the university was originally founded.

The campus is easily accessible via numerous bus stops, and serves as a bustling hub of activity and events. The campus also benefits from an array of dining options in close proximity, many located on Easton Avenue, a street directly adjacent to campus.

3. Cook, coming in at number three, primarily features the Newell Apartments. These apartments are relatively easy to secure and have been recently renovated. They also have the considerable benefit of air conditioning. The Rutgers Farm and its animals contribute to the picturesque serenity. One significant drawback, though, is the distance from the apartments to the bus stops, which can make commuting to other campuses challenging.

4. Douglass ranks fourth in housing options. It boasts both aesthetic appeal and historical significance as the site of the formerly named New Jersey College for Women. Jameson Hall stands out as a favorable housing option, but beyond these apartments, the campus offers limited housing choices, which may restrict options for some students.

5. Coming in at last place, surprisingly, is Livingston. Despite its impressive and modern campus facilities, the primary issue of the campus lies in the limited and less-than-desirable housing options available.

The Livingston Apartments, while highly regarded for their quality, do nothing to compensate for the other options, Lynton Towers and the Quads, which are generally unpopular among students. This stark contrast in housing quality means that unless students secure a spot in the apartments, their living conditions may be quite disappointing.

Overall, all of the Rutgers—New Brunswick campuses have their individual strengths and weaknesses. But these incongruences bring together our communities and various campus identities. Through our network of connection — of struggle and success — our campuses come together to form the university we call home.

The Daily Targum's editorials represent the views of the majority of the 156th editorial board. Columns, cartoons and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of the Targum Publishing Company or its staff.

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