Distinct feel of Pullman campus is traditional, yet still enchanting

Every university campus has its own aesthetic; WSU Pullman’s comforting, welcoming beauty carries its own individuality



The traditional and modern buildings of campus mix well, creating an unexpectedly-enchanting look.


I understand quite little about TikTok. I have heard about the aesthetics that have popped up like cottagecore and have always been familiar with other aesthetics such as “vintage-inspired” and grunge.

Pullman has an aesthetic, but whether that aesthetic is clear to see or a well-blended mixture of things was something I had a hard time figuring out. I could pinpoint the aesthetic of Colfax better than I could our own lovely campus. 

WSU student Jair Da Silva wrote in an email that he would describe the town of Pullman as feeling sort of vintage. 

“It’s like stepping into a time machine and going ‘back to the future,’ figuratively speaking,” Da Silva wrote. 

Da Silva wrote that he feels Pullman has a rich history and culture. 

I remember one of my history courses talking about students taking over the French Administration Building during protests, so I absolutely think Pullman’s history — as small as it may seem compared to busier, beloved cities — is worth paying attention to. 

Da Silva wrote that he considers the town vintage in feel because it reminds him of how towns and small cities used to be, something Da Silva personally finds refreshing. 

For our campus, Da Silva wrote he thinks the university has a classic feel. 

“It gives you the feel of what a traditional university campus should be. Every detail in the campus is filled with life from different eras,” Da Silva wrote. 

I sort of understand what he means, at least architecturally. I love seeing some of the more traditional-looking buildings like Wilson-Short Hall juxtaposed with the sleeker, modern styles you can see with the Compton Union Building, the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art on campus and some dorms like Olympia. 

Da Silva wrote that he thinks our campus is how every campus should be, as the old and new blend together nicely. He wrote that campus is “ever evolving and timeless.”

It is the campus’ beauty, according to Da Silva, that makes it feel timeless and poetic. 

While I have never stopped to appreciate our campus with quite the same level of feeling as Da Silva, I am glad to see it getting some love. It is a nice place, and I continue to hope that my younger sister will have an opportunity to visit Pullman.

Skyler Harrison, Alaska resident, looked at the virtual campus tour of WSU available on the university website. 

As someone who has never been to Pullman or seen WSU before, Harrison was able to provide a perspective untouched by nostalgia or fond memories of the campus. 

Harrison said that the buildings looked very traditional, like you would expect from a college campus, and very well-maintained. Harrison also said that the photography made Pullman and WSU seem very picturesque, especially in scenes with the rolling hills of the Palouse visible.

He said that our creamery, Ferdinand’s Ice Cream Shoppe, seemed to stick to the old-fashioned diner vibe quite well and that the blue heart sculpture looked like the art he might use as the thumbnail for an Oddcore playlist.

In a follow-up conversation, Harrison wrote that “the campus is almost aggressively normal, like something I’d find in a movie or television series.”

Harrison wrote that because campus is almost exactly what you would expect, it makes it more interesting when you find the unusual art installations or a lovingly-assembled stone arch. According to Harrison, the memorial arch, a replica of a larger arch that used to be on campus, gives him slight Celtic vibes. 

He wrote that these more unique parts of campus draw the eye and provide contrast to the surrounding environment, so they stand out. 

Harrison is particularly interested in the area around the Holland and Terrell Library as well as what he calls the cuboid building near the observatory. That building is apparently the PACCAR Environmental Technology Building, which I never paid any mind to before Harrison pointed it out. 

“I would say there’s some real soul there [on campus], even if it’s not immediately noticeable,” Harrison wrote. 

While I never thought of campus as aggressively normal or as feeling timeless, perhaps because I never stopped to think about it, Da Silva and Harrison have both pointed out aspects of campus that I do appreciate.

Perhaps the normality of campus helps with that timeless feeling Da Silva noted, or perhaps not. Regardless, I do find our campus to be an excellent place to spend time. It is pretty, and depending on where you are, very quiet. 

It shares a few similarities with the other college I considered attending, my top two choices being WSU or St. Lawrence University in New York. Even if Da Silva and Harrison put into words what campus is like better than I ever have, when it comes to colleges, I guess I have a type.