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15 Geneseo Gothic Landmarks

Geneseo sometimes feels like an alternate reality.  If we were to talk about these things with outsiders, they’d never understand.  But we can try. Welcome to the weird world of Geneseo Gothic.


1) Bee Tree

You’re walking on Southside.  You walk past a tree. You hear it buzzing.  You can’t remember hearing a tree that didn’t buzz. A year later, signs will manifest around the tree warning you that there are bees inside. These signs are one year too late.


2) Slippery Townhouse Vents

You’re a freshman. Everyone knows, but no one tells you.  You’re walking through the townhouses, slip on the vent and go down.  You didn’t even see it under all of the snow. An upperclassman laughs.  


You’re a sophomore.  You see a freshman slip on the vent.  You laugh.


3) Seuss Spruce

It’s been over 25 years and the decrepit tree limb has not fallen off yet. You identify with that tree.  It speaks to you. When it’s gone, you know somehow that a part of you will gone be too. As well as the millions of dollars Geneseo has poured into marketing it.


4) Entirely Closed Off Sturges Quad

You haven’t see Struges Quad for over a year.  You have no proof, but you know it’s still there.  You hope. By God, you hope.


5) The Murder of Crows

A flock of crows circles above you overhead as the gray wind whips your hair wildly. There was once a sun, but they have blotted it out with their sheer force. It starts to rain as they caw so loudly that you can’t tell if they’re following you or not.  The bells of Sturges clock tower echoes in the distance. This is the new normal.


6) Garbage Squirrels

You hear a garbage can rustle. You watch a squirrel climb out. It’s eating something.  It looks vaguely like another squirrel.


7) Chained Stairways

You come to an outdoor staircase.  It’s chained off for the winter. You come to an outdoor staircase.  It’s chained off for the winter. You come to an outdoor staircase. It’s chained off for the winter. You come to an outdoor staircase.  It’s chained off for the winter. You come to an outdoor staircase. It’s chained off for the winter. You come to an outdoor staircase. It’s chained off for the winter.


8) Key Bank ATM

It’s alone, it’s abandoned, it’s never once worked. The dim light flickers above as it declines your card for the fifth (?) time.  It feels like it’s been a century. You’re cold.


9) Letchworth Dining Hall Seagulls

Even in the winter, their squawks echo through Northside.  You see them fighting over a lost french fry and stay to bet on a winner. One morning you see a Letchworth worker throw a piece of pizza into their flock. They watch as the birds descend and literally rip each other to shreds. You wonder if you should inform UPD.



10) Distant Fire Alarms

No matter where you are on campus you hear them.  The incessant bleating of those alarms. You hear them everywhere now.  Even in your sleep. Sometimes while you sleep. You worry it might be an actual alarm because your roommate forgot to put water in their instant mac-and-cheese before putting it in the microwave.


11) Weird Tiny Door in Welles

The door is only big enough for elves.  You hope that they ask you to join them.


12) Mysteriously Missing Chowhound

The Chowhound is always on Southside but when you ask a freshman, they say it’s not there.  It’s never really anywhere.


13) ISC Doors

They’re an immovable force.  Are they push? Are they pull?  They seem to be neither.


Everyone but you seems to be able to open them.  You slip in behind someone else. You worry about getting out later.


14) Sturges Heating

You walk into Sturges and hit a wall of heat.  You swelter and sweat and narrowly avoid heatstroke.  Somehow it has only been three minutes.


15) Tommy the Ghost

Your suitemates force you to move into Erie Hall where Tommy lives.  You all act he doesn’t actually exist. You all know he does.


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Victoria Cooke is a Senior History and Adolescence Education major with a Women's and Gender Studies minor at SUNY Geneseo. Apart from being an editor and the founder of Her Campus at Geneseo, she is also the co-president of Voices for Planned Parenthood and a Curator for TEDxSUNYGeneseo. Her passions include feminism, reading, advocating for social justice, and crafting. In the future, she hopes to inspire the next generation of history nerds and activists.
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