Like most people, I love to travel. Ever since boarding my first plane in fifth grade, I have been fascinated by the miracle of flight. How does such a heavy piece of metal stay suspended in the air to transport passengers across the world? Even though it’s 2012 and planes have been airborne since 1903, it’s still pretty awesome. There’s something energizing about airports, as well. People coming and going, speaking different languages, heading to different places around the globe, each and every day.

This blog post, however, is not about travel or airports. Instead, I will focus on the new Anderson Student Center, to which many enthusiastically proclaim, “It’s like an airport in there!” I have to agree with this analogy but add: it’s much prettier, and it’s packed with purple pride.

I stepped into the building for the first time a few weeks ago. I stopped in awe as the sun streamed through the enormous sparkling windows facing the lower quad, and an entirely new view of campus unfolded before me. This visit was over January Term, when only a few dozen students were present, and I envisioned the building soon would fill with people traveling to and from all corners of campus. Last week, when I made a return visit, I was indeed correct. That hustle and bustle was prominent in the Anderson Student Center – now the major hub for students.

After exploring each floor and all of the amazing features, I started talking to students and I realized that this beautiful building is more than just a place to hang out. It is a place where students conduct extraordinary research, plan unbelievable businesses and share stories from their recent VISION trips. I always knew that St. Thomas students did cool things, but it occurred to me that during their free time on campus, they use the student center as a hub for exchanging ideas, collaborating on class projects and organizing service trips to help those in need. As a recent UST grad, I couldn’t help but fast-forward to think about where these students will head beyond the Arches.

This new hub on campus hosts students’ study sessions and social lives prior to their departure (graduation) to new and exciting adventures – no matter which time zone or terminal they choose. Sure, some students experience a bit of turbulence or a flight delay, but from the alumni I’ve met, many of them were well prepared for takeoff and have reached cruising altitude in their careers.