The Blue & Gray Press

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Photo Essay: An eagle eye view of our once vacant campus

2 min read

The bell tower with no students or cars. | Emily Warren


Staff Photographer

The print version of this article stated that the photos were taken before winter break in the fall of 2020. That date was meant to serve as a comparison for how empty campus looked. The photos were taken this semester while classes were in session.

These photos were taken on the last day of finals week of fall 2020, right before winter break. Campus was deserted as most students have already left for break, and it’s a surreal experience to not see anyone on the university grounds. Its ambiance was almost like a ghost town because of how bare the campus was.

This spring 2021 semester, UMW’s campus feels like this every single day.

A prospective student who is touring UMW would glance at the campus and no longer get to experience the warm friendly atmosphere that the university has to offer. They would never know that there are hundreds of students sitting in their dorms attending virtual class and learning through their computer screens. 

Campus Walk, normally buzzing with students, remains quiet and neglected. Ball Circle, a popular hang out place for students, stays vacant with chairs and tables unoccupied. Lee Hall’s patio is barren and not filled with students enjoying their lunch or studying. The UC is usually packed with students and you can rarely find a table to sit at for lunch, however, now the UC almost looks abandoned with an abundance of seats ready for students to occupy them. The athletic fields remain limited in occupancy with few spectators. Both Double Drive and the bell tower are not crowded with cars. Surprisingly, the Simpson Library’s treehouses that are normally swarming with students, are not available. 

I wanted to capture the empty feeling of campus through a series of aerial photographs. I used a DJI Mavic Mini drone and flew it above the UWM campus, revealing that normal operations at these places on campus would never see this kind of vacancy.

Ball Circle lounge chairs that are normally heavily occupied, remain empty.

Soccer field at the Battlefield Complex is freshly mowed but is quiet.

Double Drive is unusually carless.

Battlefield Complex track not being used by student athletes.

The tennis courts with a limited number of players.

The bell tower with no students or cars.

Lee Hall’s patio is missing students studying and entering the bookstore.

Limited spectators are allowed at sporting events so the bleachers in the Battlefield stay silent.

Campus walk, which is usually buzzing with students, stays lonely.

Softball field without any players.

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