Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

Guide To ODU: Tips, Tricks and Hidden Gems

Updated Published
The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at ODU chapter.

Senior year is over, and you now have to deal with the bustling anxiety that is a college campus. Unlike high school where you have to eat what’s given to you, you now have choices. Study life as you know it has expanded past your childhood room to acres of land that seem to go on for miles. 

Well, no worries! As a once struggling freshman with wandering eyes and a still present lack of direction, I’m here to give you a guide to all things Old Dominion University (ODU).

Getting Around 

Arriving on campus, it looks way bigger than you may think because, well, it kind of is. With over 300 acres, 150 campus buildings and over 23,000 currently enrolled, ODU is not a small school by far.

Although the use of Google Maps and other GPS options work perfectly fine, getting used to the area before the first day of classes is how I was able to adjust pretty quickly. 

You will see a lot of bright green scooters around campus called Lime scooters. Although pretty handy, keep your money close because as quickly as you take that first ride your money is gone just as fast. The campus may be huge in foresight, but all of the locations from classes to food and activities are perfectly walkable. 

The TransLoc app is your source of transportation around campus that is completely free with your student ID. With your student ID in hand, you can board the Blue or Silver routes during the day that can take you all around campus from the CVS, Food Lion and even Aldi which is a few blocks down from the main campus. On Saturdays, you can even board the shuttle to Walmart. These routes run Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., and the safe ride that runs from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. runs shortly after which is request-based, unlike the regular shuttles that run a specific route daily.

Additionally, at the beginning of each semester, the Student Recreation Outdoor Adventure Center releases slots where you can sign up to snag a bike to be yours for the semester for just $15. You can also rent out a bike amongst other equipment on a daily basis; prices and info are located on their page here


With 10 restaurants and two dining halls accessible on-campus, as well as a plethora of off-campus locations within a short walk, there is a lot to choose from when it comes to the menu. Despite this, constant visits make it easy to get tired of these selections. Here are some gems a lot of people on campus enjoy.

The 757 Drop – Having a home-cooked feel to its options, from a shrimp or fish basket to rasta pasta, this is a place I didn’t even find until my sophomore year. You can use your meal exchange, flex or credit/debit for this option.

Broderick Dining Commons – You will certainly hear a lot of mixed reviews when it comes to the dining hall, but I assure you that it is not one if not the only place where you can get some healthy options for your diet. From salads and a vegan menu to fruits and veggies, the dining hall will give you a fresh option compared to other places on campus. You can use your meal exchange for entry to the dining hall which provides a buffet-style experience.

Juice Bar – The perfect place to get something cold to both get your protein intake and a quick snack during the day. With the option of protein shakes and the ability to add protein to their featured smoothies, it’s a cool addition on those hot summer days. For a quick bite, you can also get patties, empanadas and acai bowls. You can use Flex or card for this option.

Osaka Ramen and Sushi – By far my favorite off-campus spot is just a five minute walk from campus. Located on the strip of Monarch Way with other places like Gong Cha, Domino’s and P.F. Franks. The playlists are always on tune and the dishes are perfect for any season. 

Places to Study

Chemistry Building – You don’t have to be a STEM major to access all of the nooks and study spots the chemistry building has to offer. Recently built and improved, the chemistry building has four floors of study nooks that are perfect for a group or solo study sesh. With a private study room on the third floor, you are sure to get some work done there.

Webb Center – Without a doubt the busiest place on campus—with activity hour happening every Tuesday and Thursday from 12:30 to 1:15 p.m. each week and different clubs posted around daily, something is always going around in the Webb. Nevertheless, there are also a few places around the area to get a quick study session. A reflection room in a small corner on the first floor and a small section on the second floor to overlook the first floor are the perfect spaces for when you have a little free time in between classes. 

Perry Library – With four floors of study space, there are a lot of options to curl up in the library for however long you need. The first floor features collaboration rooms and computers, the second floor holds a lot of nooks and crannies, and as you go higher up the quieter it gets as the fourth floor is a perfect stillness with no talking as testing occurs on the same floor. You can reserve study rooms on any of the four floors here

Resources and Materials

There are a lot of resources that aren’t known to a lot of students that can really help you through your college years. 

Campus Groups is your go-to for any event or club that is present on campus. If you’re ever bored or just want to make some new connections you can check the calendar or event list on the campus group app once logging in with your ODU credentials. You can use this app to check in for various events, join clubs and also manage any of your own club’s budgets, events or members. 

A few other key resources that can help you with your journey are Student Health Services with free appointments from counseling to overall wellness, the Writing Center located in the library to help you with your papers and Career Development Services that can help you with a lot of career questions and challenges such as creating and editing resumes and connecting with employers. 


A huge struggle for new students when arriving here is the rules and regulations of parking. There are five garages to park in on campus, which all require an hourly parking payment or a valid ODU parking permit. The price varies depending on which pass you get, whether you plan on commuting or staying here on campus as a resident. 

From one-day parking passes to weekly and semester passes, there are many things to consider when looking at the parking portal when registering your vehicle for a parking permit. When browsing the parking websites there is also varying information on which lots around campus that are designated for residents or commuters. 

One thing that is vitally important when parking on campus is being aware of game days. ODU parking is strict and will tow your car swiftly when there is a football or basketball game in locations that are used for game day parking. 

When there is a football game, you must move your car by 5 a.m. on game day to one of the three following garages: 43rd & Bluestone Garage, Constant Center 45th St. Garage, Constant Center 43rd Street Garage. You can find more info on football game day parking here

On days there are home basketball games, parking enforcement for the games starts at 4:30 p.m. in the Constant Center 43rd and 45th Street Garage on levels 1, 2 and 3 depending on if it is a men’s or women’s game. You can find more info on basketball game day parking here.  

Visit here to get all the parking details on where to not park, how to get a parking permit, and what to do if your car happens to get towed by parking services.

Side tip: Norfolk is a heavy flood area so when it rains I would strongly suggest avoiding the 49th Street Stadium Garage when there are signs of heavy rain. 

School Spirit 

One key point when it comes to school spirit is our quirky tradition of the ice cream and cake dance that we do during games. Although a little funny doing it with others during a big game, will get you hype going into the second stretch. 

Another thing to note is the rule of not stepping on the seal in the middle of Kaufman Mall in front of the Webb Center until the day of graduation. Stepping on the seal before your big day is also rumored to delay your time of graduation, so be careful! Finally stepping on the seal as you walk to Chartway Arena your big day is one for the books.

Finally, don’t forget to rub Big Blue’s (our lovely mascot) belly located near the front desk in the Webb Center for good luck! 

Finding Your People 

A fear for myself and many others coming to college is wanting to find friends and your “clique” on your first day. Although it sounds like a dream, it truly takes time to find where you truly fit in. It’s important to not be discouraged when a first meeting doesn’t go as planned or you find some places or things are just not the vibes, it’s okay! To learn more about how to navigate big friend groups check out my other article here!

College is what you make it and your experience and how you go about it is totally up to you, so just take the reins and try to reign responsibly. Go Monarchs!

Hello! My name is Maria Toombs and I am a Journalism Major at Old Dominion University! I am a lover of the most cheesiest of romance novels, and I believe writing is not only a source of healing, but a gateway into letting your voice be heard.