by Jennifer Phillips
photography by Rhidian Maehl
At midnight, the cranking sounds of music fill the University of La Verne Student Center. But there isn’t a party or a disc jockey in sight, just the big screen television.
The Student Center is closed. During school hours, everybody from Oprah to the Los Angeles Dodgers graces the big screen, but after the final ping pong game is played and the last mile is run on the treadmill, MTV rules and so does the cleaning crew.
As an early pre-blond Madonna rock video is playing “Crazy For You,” Robert Terry, a custodian for Marriott Management, is sweeping up a collection of bubble gum wrappers, junk mail and dust from a day of ULV life.
“From midnight until I’m off, the music will be loud,” he says. For Terry and his co-workers, the music helps them get through the night. Terry starts his workday at 6 p.m. and will end at 1:30 a.m. He breaks at 8 p.m. for 10 minutes and will eat lunch at 10 p.m. Tonight he is having burger and fries from the popular fast food joint, In-N-Out.
While Terry is busily cleaning the Student Center, the lights are on inside the Communications Department. Inside are Dr. George Keeler, Communications Department chair, Mike Laponis, associate professor of communications, and Eric Bishop, Campus Times adviser.
With tousled hair, Keeler accurately inputs the final touches on the Department’s strategic plan implementation for the upcoming faculty retreat. “It’s a big trade show,” he says.
Around the corner is Bishop browsing through past editions of the paper. Laponis is sitting in his office that is adorned with practically every radio station’s bumper sticker. “I’m working on school stuff,” he says. The “school stuff” is an upcoming midterm for his video production class. Laponis anticipates it will take him another 20 minutes before he is finished.
Meanwhile, in front of Founders Hall, huddled together like a wild pack of animals around their prey are Delta Sigma Phi pledge sophomores Phil Jackson, John Keller and James Free and junior Bill Baccus. They are painting the Rock. In between stints of laughter and shouts of encouragement to one another, the four men continue to work on their task in the chilly night. “We are using our fraternity’s colors, black, green and gold,” Jackson says.
After hours, the small campus has its moments of life. David Randall, a senior political science major, is roaming the campus after the midnight closing of the computer lab in Founders Hall. Randall is looking for the nearest telephone to call for a ride home. He has spent the evening in the computer lab working on his upcoming midterm project for Dr. Richard Gelm’s class.
Inside Founders Hall, the chatter of conversation and the traffic of students and professors coming and going are gone. “During finals week, there is a lot more activity,” Randall says.
Freshmen business majors Wilson Ling and Jeff Gleason are lounging on a bench near the University Mall. Both men who are members of the soccer team are outdoors getting some “fresh air” and “relaxation” for tomorrow afternoon’s game.
Nearing 1 a.m., three couples are sprinkled out on the grassy area near Woody Hall, engaged in intimate conversation. The usually condensed parking along Third Street has dwindled down to a fraction as the night rolls on and the 2 a.m. car curfew nears.
With his Gatorade in hand, Brian Krug, Brandt resident and freshman communications major, winds in and out of rooms and up and down stairwells much like being in a maze. “I’m seeing what’s going on,” Krug says.
While on rounds, second floor resident assistant Rob Northrup handles the never ending battle of the propped door along the north entrance on the second floor. After Northrup unprops the door and proceeds down the stairwell, he proclaims, “The nightlife is here.
Kisha Dent, a junior criminology major, coming from a late night run to Del Taco, disagrees. “I don’t have to be at work until 1 p.m., and there’s nothing else to do,” she says. “Everybody is either at Stu-Han, the SAE party or at the Santana concert.”
With every minute edging closer to 2 a.m., the halls of Stu-Han Residence Hall contain a handful of men and women running through each wing screaming. While the women playfully scream, the men charge on. Others are in the lounge chatting. During these late hours, it’s not unusual for residents of Stu-Han to be wide awake. “I’m used to being up this late,” says La Shon Mitchell a freshman biology major, in the study lounge.
Over at the Oaks, in D-Bottom lounge, residents Michael P. Bailey and Tamara Loyd are studying. “I find it hard to sleep because my roommate snores,” he says.
On the other side of campus, there is no sign of the rumored ghost of Founders Hall haunting the empty building; the faint smell of cleaning products and the noise of a vacuum are the only signs of activity in the old building. But on the third floor, a computer lab door is open and directly across, is Brian Tresner, network manager of the computer lab. As the hit “Faithfully” softly plays in the background, Tresner repairs a fragmented disk. Tresner does not expect to be finished with the disk for another 13 hours but is optimistic about his long night ahead.
“I brought my pillow and cover,” he says.
As the song ends, the University is rolling over and falling into a deep sleep.Virtually every parking lot is empty, with the exception of the residence halls. The dark night is settling over the small campus.