San Diego, CA
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5 College Freshman

Facilities: There are two many great things about USD to even list. There is this finals feeding frenzy where you can get free food. The whole week before finals they have tons of activities for you to get involved in. There are two gyms on campus, a law library and the Copely Library. The areas to hang out on campus are endless: Aroma's Cafe, Student Life Pavillion, Frank's Lounge...

5 College Freshman

Facilities: It's number one in the country for study abroad. They have a lot of different opportunities for you to travel almost anywhere in the country for just a couple of weeks or for a full semester.

4 College Freshman

Facilities: The library is awesome, with the exception of during finals week. Gyms are great too, but only if you live in the valley.

4 College Freshman

Facilities: I really enjoy my school. Although there aren't many things to do on campus, the location is wonderful. Also I have met many great people, including my boyfriend!

3 College Freshman

Facilities: Nothing really special minus the proximity to the beach.

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Rankings View more rankings . . .

  • 22nd
    Greenest Campuses
  • 166th
    Best Student Centers
  • 744th
    Best Athletic Facilities
  • 986th
    Best Performance Venues
  • 1006th
    Best Library

Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Shannon Palka
Thousand Oaks, CA
English and Theology
Grad Year
View all previous student authors

One of the major perks of attending USD is that the campus is stunningly beautiful. Every building is a tribute to 16th century Spanish Renaissance architecture, reflecting the initial vision of University founder Mother Rosalie Clifton Hill. The landscaping is very well-kept, and groundskeepers are always at work. There never seems to be a dead flower or brown blade of grass on campus. Additionally, the classrooms, offices, and dorm rooms found inside these gorgeous buildings are well-maintained. During the school year, there aren’t many renovations to buildings, but in the summer, classrooms are updated to accommodate the ever-changing needs of the student body. At the end of the semester, immediately following major renovations, professors hand out surveys to students, asking them to rate the classroom in various areas, looking for ways to improve the learning environment at USD.

Many facilities on campus are new and, therefore, are in good condition and are aesthetically pleasing. The University Center and Student Life Pavilion were renovated in 2009, and the Jenny Craig Pavilion—the main athletic complex—was built in 2000. There are two libraries on campus, Copley Library and the Legal Research Center, and both are spacious with thousands of up-to-date volumes. All buildings on campus are cleaned daily by the maintenance staff, so they are always in excellent condition.

Facts & Statistics

Service & Maintenance Staff
Campus Size
180 acres
Student Centers
  • Hahn University Center
  • Student Life Pavilion
Campus Library?
Main Libraries
  • Copley Library
  • Law Library
Popular Places to Chill
  • Aromas
  • Mission Café
  • Student Life Pavilion
Bar on Campus
O'Toole's, in the University Center
Bowling on Campus
Coffeehouse on Campus
Aromas, on the first floor of Maher Hall
Movie Theater on Campus
No, but movies are shown on Friday nights in the outdoor Plaza Mayor at the SLP or in Plaza Menor outside Tu Mercado.
"Green" Initiatives
Eleven University buildings are equipped with solar panels. USD has the eighth-largest solar energy facility on a U.S. college campus and the largest at a private university. The University buys lots of local food items for its dining facilities, recycles its cooking oil, and composts food waste. Recycling bins are offered across campus, and USD also offers an e-waste recycling center and ink cartridge refills. There are "green" student organizations on campus, including BBGG (Be Blue, Go Green). There is also a living-learning community (LLC) dedicated to reducing USD's carbon footprint. Outdoor Adventures (OA) provides the student body with opportunities to experience new adventures that aim to promote learning and awareness of the outdoors. They promote the philosophy "Leave No Trace," meaning they promote buying locally, reusing, and reducing.
School Slang
  • The Comber: The Beachcomber bar
  • The Fox: The Silver Fox, a local bar
  • JCP, Jenny Craig: Jenny Craig Pavilion
  • MB, PB, OB, IB: Mission Beach, Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach, Imperial Beach, respectively
  • Mission: Mission Beach
  • The Palms: Palm trees near Camino/Founders
  • P-Safe: Public Safety
  • SLP, "Slip": Student Life Pavilion
  • State: San Diego State University
  • UC: University of California at San Diego, not to be confused with "The UC"
  • The UC: Hahn University Center
  • University of Spoiled Daughters: Hey, the school is two-thirds women . . .
  • The Valley: Mission Housing Complex
  • Virgin Vault: Camino/Founders halls
  • Catholic Tradition: USD is a Catholic school, but there is no religious recruiting strategy that many students envision when they consider applying or first arrive. As University literature states, "Because early academics believed that God is truth, they had no fear in consulting all sources including Islamic and Jewish scholars in their search for truth. They believed the learning experience was enriched through diversity. More than single-faith based policy; USD's tradition is more one of free inquiry rooted in serving others and developing a faith community. Acting on Catholic teaching and philosophy is the major goal of University administration."
  • The Colachis Plaza Echo: Colachis Plaza has a famous spot where you can stand and hear a powerful echo. Stand by the plaque on the west side of the plaza and face across the plaza. When you yell, you can carry on a great, although repetitive, conversation with yourself.
  • Father Serra Foot Massage for Luck: Didn't study for that economics final? Totally clueless about the difference between Fitzgerald and Faulkner? Rub the toes of the statue in front of Serra Hall, and all will become clear.
  • Greek Week: Sororities and fraternities form teams and compete to raise money for a charity. Events include letter writing and skits.
  • Homecoming: Homecoming is an important event for all Toreros, past and present. USD hosts an impressive tailgate party before the football game, as well as a rather competitive alumni golf tournament that students often attempt to crash.
  • Miracle on Marian Way ("Winter Wonderland"): This Christmas festival involves cookies, teddy bears, and Santa.
  • Torero Days and Welcome Week: Torero Days is how the University welcomes all of its new freshmen to campus a few days before classes start. There are mandatory icebreakers that can get old quickly, but there are also social events that are a great way to meet people. Welcome Week is for all students, new and returning. The University sponsors activities like trips to the beach, to Padres games, and to the Little Italy Farmers' Market.
  • Voyage to the Top of the Immaculata: You'll either have to be some sort of cat burglar or have a slick rap with the security guards, but a visit to the top of the chapel is a must for USD students worth their salt. Not to be done while the bells are ringing.
Urban Legends
  • Some say that Founders Hall is secretly trying to brainwash and recruit new nuns.
  • Superstition says that if you step on the University's symbol on the floor of Maher Hall, you won't graduate in four years.
  • There's a rumor that a nun hanged herself in Founders Hall.
Favorite Things To Do
Between classes, students like to hang out or study at Aromas or spend time in the Student Life Pavilion and get food. During dead hours, which is a period from 12:15 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays when there are no classes, students generally go to club meetings or catch up on some sleep. After classes are done for the day, students play intramural sports, study, go to the beach, or sleep.
Student Newspaper
The Vista
Clubs and Organizations on Campus
There are lots of opportunities to be involved with clubs and student organizations on campus. There is a club that caters to almost every interest on campus-from political and religious to professional and social or just for fun. If you want to start your own club, fill out the online form on the student organizations website, and the VP of Student Life and AS (Associated Students) VP of Student Organizations will review all requests. After that, the club founder needs to find a faculty adviser and 10 members, and write and submit an organization constitution. Finally, a rep from the new organization needs to attend an Associated Students Senate meeting where a vote is held to approve the new group.
Student Activities Offered
  • Campus ministries
  • Choral groups
  • Dance
  • Drama/theater
  • International student organization
  • Jazz band
  • Literary magazine
  • Model UN
  • Music ensembles
  • Musical theater
  • Pep band
  • Radio station
  • Student government
  • Symphony orchestra
  • Television station
  • Yearbook
Air Force ROTC: Yes
Navy ROTC: Yes
Army ROTC: Yes
Did You Know?
  • The Alcalá Bazaar is held at the beginning of every semester so students can see all of the clubs on campus. For students, it's an opportunity to shop clubs they might be interested in. For clubs, it's an awesome way to recruit new members. And if nothing else, it's a great way to get free gifts like candy, Frisbees, magnets, and pens.
  • Pictures of each building at USD can be found at www.sandiego.edu/facilities/building_gallery.php.

Student Polls

Rate the campus facilities in the following areas    Based on 67 responses

Very poor
  • Athletics/recreation
  • Classrooms
  • Computer labs
  • Dining
  • General aesthetics/architecture of campus
  • "Green" buildings/initiatives
  • Housing
  • Lawns/green space
  • Library
  • Modernity of facilities
  • Performing arts
  • Science/research labs
  • Student center
  • Study spots
  • Visual arts (work spaces, galleries)

How would you describe the student center/union?    Based on 93 responses

  • 1% The student center is in need of a major renovation.
  • 26% The student center serves its purpose but is not a popular hangout.
  • 46% The student center is great but isn't central to student life.
  • 27% The student center is state-of-the-art and the hub of student life.

What is your overall opinion of your school and the campus community?    Based on 68 responses

  • 3% I hate my school and have no school spirit.
  • 4% The school community is okay-we're all just here for an education, nothing more.
  • 62% I like mostly everything about my school, but there are some things I wish were different.
  • 31% I love everything about my school and have a lot of campus pride.

What are your favorite things to do around campus?    Based on 5 responses

  • 33% Go to O'Toole's for a drink after class
  • 33% Go to Aromas and get a crepe.
  • 22% Go to La Paloma and get a grilled cheese
  • 11% Go to Franks Lounge and watch the game.


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