It’s wild card day for Rutgers Week of B1G 2020. The past few years I’ve brought you everything from Rutgers traditions, and fat sandwiches for each Big Ten team, to what to do when you visit RU, and this piece on Rutgers memes from last year which I’m still pretty proud of not gonna lie. Many of those memes hold up.
Anyway, for those who are unfamilar with Rutgers, it really is unlike all campuses in the Big Ten, and most schools in general. It’s incredibly sprawling and lacks a big central main campus where you can walk from end to end within 20-40 minutes. Instead Rutgers is spread across two cities, separated by a river made up of five distinct, and unique campuses that each contribute different cultural elements to RU, and I’m not talking about Rutgers Newark and Camden campuses, I mean Rutgers. Many Rutgers students tend to identify themselves first, not by their major, but by their campus (which are associated with certain majors). “Hey where do you live?” doesn’t mean dorm, it means campus. By senior year most Rutgers students have their favorite and their personality shaped by it either from living on or taking clases at. When living choice comes up, some students choose campus based on major, others based on campus personality fit. Some of you may still be wondering why a school called Rutgers-New Brunswick has sports played in a city called Piscataway. The river separates New Brunswick from Piscataway (and Highland Park, but who cares). Getting between campuses is made possible by the world’s largest university bus system.
This great image below highlights the orientation of the campuses relative to one another.
The primary campuses are
College Avenue Campus
College Ave is the original Rutgers campus. It is the home of the historic Queen’s College building and its classic brick look has a very Ivy League essence to it. It’s the home of the Rutgers Honors College, Rutgers Greek Life, Rutgers Geology Museum, all as well as many offices and departments of the School of Arts and Sciences, particularly liberal arts like Philosphy (world renowned) History, Sociology, and English. Also, THIS is the campus you venture to for the bars and restaurants which are just a few blocks off College Avenue and this is the main campus for off-campus living. College Ave has the “urban” feel of Rutgers-New Brunswick. The Northeast edge of College Ave, particularly 3 large dorms have a beautiful riverfront view of the Raritan. College Ave is also the historic home of the first College Football game. The campus has the weirdest intersection of frat boys, liberal arts types, and undecided School of Arts and Sciences majors.
Busch campus, which is in Piscataway, is the suburban home of most of Rutgers’ hard sciences and STEM fields. Physics, chemistry, math, engineering, geology, microbiology, bioengineering, and genetics, as well as a majority of its Athletics facilties, including SHI Stadium, and also has a very nice golf course, and the best gym at Rutgers. Busch is also the home of the Rutgers Visitor Center and I would say the sprawling green combined with large science and academic buildings, Rutgers imagery, dorms, and athletics facilties, makes Busch look the most like a Big Ten campus out of all of Rutgers’ campuses. Some fairly recent construction has helped parts of Busch look really high tech. It’s huge with a lot of residential buildings, and a whole lot of empty space much of it reserved for gameday parking and... geese territory. Anyway, Busch is the home of nerds who don’t shower and an army of geese.
Livingston, which is also in Piscataway, has gotten a major overhaul within the last 8 years, where it went from being the most downtrodden and ignored campus to a pretty happening, albeit still small, mostly residential campus. Today it is defined by the business school which looks like the Death Star, and incredibly nice on-campus apartments, with some restaurants and stores underneath, and even a small three screen movie theater that doubles as a lecture hall in the day. Livingston is also home of the Rutgers Athletic Center aka the RAC, and the baseball field, as well as a new sports health facility for athletes. This campus is also where you can access the Rutgers Ecological Preserve. Also, a lot of parking and solar panels. If you come to Rutgers for a football game, there’s a 90% change you’re parking on Livingston and being bused to the stadium on Busch. Despite Livingston’s improvements, unless you’re a business student or an athlete, this is still, unfortunately, Rutgers’ most disrespected campus.
Cook and Douglass are technically separate campuses, but they are like a woodsy venn diagram and are practically contiguous with the personailties from each bleeding over into one another. Douglass was historically the home of the New Jersey College for Women founded in 1918, now Douglass Residential College. Douglass is also the home of the Mason Gross School of Performing Arts and the whole campus has very artsy vibes. Cook Campus is the home of the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, previously Cook College, and is home to the other branches of Rutgers’ hard sciences. It has a lovely little pond called Passion Puddle, farms with cows, pigs, and horses, Food Sciences, Marine Sciences, and all things environment and ecology, and it’s thanks to Cook that Rutgers is New Jersey’s Land Grant. Cook/Douglass also has a large contingent of off-campus students. Cook/Douglass has a unique mix of artsy types and hippies.
So those are Rutgers’ main campus and hopefully you have a solid idea of the primary personalities associated with each (If you want to learn more click here). I will now attempt to sort all Big Ten schools, minus Rutgers, into these campuses with brief explanations as to why.
Ohio State— Busch
Busch is a picture perfect view of a public flagship university campus. For people who visit Rutgers for a game, they may never see more than Busch campus (though they should). It has a strong dominating presence at RU very much like Ohio State’s dominating position in the conference, yet Ohio State was not one of the original Big Ten schools. Busch is not the original Rutgers campus despite the stadium and some old academic departments being on it.
Indiana, though a solid member of the Big Ten does stand just a bit out there compared to its Big Ten compatriots as it sucks at football. Still though it is a member of the family. Indiana also has a good performing arts school, so I think it fits in Douglass.
Northwestern— College Ave
Northwestern, like College Ave is a weird mix of elements within the Big Ten. It’s a small, private school. However, it’s the Big Ten school closest to the O.G. Big Ten city and is an original member. Plus College Ave is a bougie, Ivy-looking campus, with Honors College students, and come on that’s Northwestern in essence.
Michigan State— Cook/Douglass
When I think of Michigan State, I know their fans are very proud of being Michigan’s Ag school. For that reason, Cook/Douglass, specifically Cook, is the only choice for MSU.
Minnesota is loved by people who know and love Minnesota, is a solid school, and has garnered Atheltics respect for itself in recent years. Minnesota is not the B1Gest boy in the Big Ten and has its share of disrespect, but like Livingston Campus, it’s got a lot of new good that it worked hard to get.
Penn State— College Ave
Penn State is a blue blood, and a classic university, akin to College Ave’s status as the original Rutgers campus, and always struck me as a fratty school. Also, it’s “we’re the best thing since slice bread” mentality definitely matches the elitist personality of much of College Ave— the types of majors, the Honors College, as well as its Greek community.
Like Ohio State, Wisconsin also has a strong, established, picturesque presence in the Big Ten and thus matches the appearance of Busch Campus. Also, badgers like big open grassland spaces, I don’t know.
Michigan— College Ave
Michigan is an original Big Ten member. It’s a great school. College Ave is a great campus, but then Michigan Football is the parts of College Ave I didn’t mention in my brochure-esque description above. Michigan holds onto glory as a famous and established member of the Big Ten, like College Ave, but both have very dilapidated elements.
Maryland has really made something of itself in the Big Ten, but is still not respected by much of the conference, particularly the old guard. The same way old Rutgers fans who haven’t been on campus in 20 years still think of Livingston as inferior. I mean, it is, but it’s not that bad anymore!
When I think of Purdue, I think of Engineering. Is this simple? Probably. Is there more to Purdue? I don’t know. Are they worthy of Busch given that Busch has so many other things that Purdue doesn’t have? I also don’t know, this sorting isn’t perfect, okay. Neil Armstrong would have loved Busch. Busch is also where the marching band practices and Purdue has their famous “All-American” Marching Band with a big drum.
Illinois is in the middle of the nowhere with lots of open sprawl and is an elite STEM school. Definitely fits Busch in both regards, as Busch is across the river from the historic Rutgers campuses (along with Livingston), has a lot of open space, and is home to much of the non-biology/environment STEM fields of Rutgers.
Livingston Campus is not known for its academic elements. It’s mostly a residential campus. I actually can’t name off the top of my head any academic departments that have their home on Livingston. I mean there’s the business school, but that’s not academics. Still though, Livingston has some flashy things and it’s got the RAC which is historic. Livingston Campus may have actually beaten Nebraska in its return to glory, but maybe Nebraska will follow its sorted campus’ lead.
I don’t really know what Iowa has. But I’m certain it has vegetables, pigs, and cows. You know what else has vegetables, pigs, and cows? Cook Campus. I’m sorry Iowa.
Do you agree or disagree with the classification for your school fandom? Let me know in the comments. And please fill out the poll below!
Which Rutgers campus would you live on?
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