[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Despite Truman State’s relatively small size, the campus contains many fascinating places that are not widely known. Some places have their roots in Truman’s history, tradition and folklore, while others simply are not the kinds of places they show you on the campus tour. Some locations are so obscure that even students who have attended Truman for years still haven’t visited them.
Want to become an instant Truman tour guide? Here, in no particular order, are Truman’s top 5 places you might not know exist. Check them out for yourself!
1. Kirk Gym
Located across The Quad from Pickler Memorial Library, the Kirk Building is home to the Center for Academic Excellence, the Publications Office and the Language Company. What’s not so obvious is what takes up the top two floors of the building— a beautiful and historic gymnasium.
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The Kirk Building was constructed during 1922-23 as Kirk Auditorium, and was renamed during 1959. For much of its history the building was the campus’ “Sociability Hall,” popular for dances, dinners and other social functions, according to materials from the Ruth W. Towne Museum. The construction of the Student Union Building during 1967 essentially rendered the Kirk gym obsolete.
Although much of the gym has fallen into a state of disrepair, it’s still a popular location for meetings and clubs such as the University Swingers. The place seems to have a kind of romantic appeal to those who appreciate its historical aesthetic, and the fact that its existence is not widely publicized makes it a popular place for new students to explore.
Did you know Truman essentially has its own miniature zoo? The Truman Herpetarium is located just inside the west entrance to Magruder Hall and is home to a host of reptiles and amphibians. Frogs, turtles, skinks, pythons, boa constrictors, a Bearded dragon and many more make their home here. There’s even a veiled chameleon named Pascal and giant tortoise named Chunk.
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Biology majors Rachael Newton and Sabrina Wiser say the Herpetarium is maintained by volunteers and student workers for institutional pay or scholarship hours, and there are no special requirements to work there. They say the animals housed in Magruder come from a variety of sources, including donations, zoos, other universities and the wild.
The Herpetarium is a great place to get closer to nature right here on campus.
3. Library Wellness Zone
Need to relax and unwind? Make your way to the Wellness Zone. Located on the first floor of Pickler Memorial Library, the Wellness Zone strives to create a stress-free environment where students and faculty can come to relax and learn stress management techniques.
Featuring a calming environment as well as massage chairs, the Wellness Zone is a resource from which many Truman students definitely could benefit.
4. ROTC tower and obstacle course
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The ROTC (Reserve Officers’ Training Corps) tower, used for climbing and rappelling, is hard to miss, standing 45 feet high near the tennis courts and rugby field. What’s harder to spot is the obstacle course that sits to the east of the tower.
Called the Leadership Reaction Course, the course is used by the ROTC but also is available for varsity sports, summer camps and community organizations. If you’d like to use the course or the tower, contact the Military Science Department.
5. Gum tree
Ever noticed how one of the trees next to the sidewalk near Missouri Hall is covered with old pieces of gum? Chances are you’ve walked past it without even noticing— or if you did notice, you probably just thought it was gross. Little did you know the Gum Tree actually is a time-honored Truman tradition.
Legend has it that during the 1920s, when students were not allowed to chew gum in class, they would stick their used gum inside a hollow suit of armor— affectionately named Oscar— in Pickler Memorial Library. During later years, students opted to stick their gum on a tree on The Quad, claiming it brought them good luck on their exams. The “Original” Gum Tree was cut down by vandals during October 1999, but within days gum started showing up on a new tree. The second Gum Tree also met its demise during 2013 as it was cut down after dying in a drought the year before.
Students have appointed the current, “Third” Gum Tree, which is unlikely to be the last! You might as well add your wad of gum to the tree the next time you see it. After all, everyone’s doing it!
Are there any other obscure locations on campus that deserve a shoutout? Let us know on social media with the hashtag #hiddenatTruman![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]