Towson’s Best 2018
Your fellow Towerlight readers voted in our online survey for the best of the best in a variety of Towson-related categories. Find out who took the gold in each specialty area in this year’s Towson’s Best. Compiled by Jordan Cope, Mary-Ellen Davis, Marcus Dieterle, Bailey Hendricks, Kerry Ingram and Karuga Koinange. Photos by The Towerlight staff. Illustration by Victoria Nicholson. Map by Marcus Dieterle.
Best place to live off campus: Towson Place Apartments
If you’re looking to move off-campus, look no further than the Towson Place Apartments. Located right across the street from The Towers, these apartments are conveniently located so that you can still walk to all your classes instead of worrying about whether you’ll be able to get your favorite parking space each day. With 24-hour emergency maintenance services, controlled building access and the ability to pay your rent online from the comfort of your couch, you’ll feel right at home in one of their pre-furnished floor plans, ranging from studio apartments all the way to three bedrooms.
Best residence hall: The Glen Complex/”The Towers”
A short walk from the academic buildings, the Glen Complex, or “The Towers” as they’ve become known, is the perfect place for on campus living. With the suite-style rooms, common areas and study rooms, there are plenty of opportunities to make new friends. If meeting people isn’t your speed, the rooms are also perfect to hide away in while you binge watch that show on Netflix you haven’t started. To top it off, Tower D is home to the Global Village residence community. If you’re part of this learning experience, you’ll have the opportunity to live on an integrated floor of domestic and international students, and you may just walk away with a new best friend.
Best place to park: Union Garage
The Union is centrally located to most of the academic buildings on campus, so it’s no surprise that it was voted the best place to park on campus. It’s only about a five minute walk to the Liberal Arts building, and about a 15 minute walk to the library. Parking at the Union Garage is popular because there’s so many things you can do in the Union: pick up some sushi from Kappa Sushi, pick up a package at the Post Office and rent your textbook from the UStore all in one building. The only drawback? Because this is a popular place to park, you should get up early for your classes to find a parking spot.
Best shuttle route: Gold Route
With stops all around campus, the Gold Route is the route of choice for every student when they don’t feel like walking to class. Shuttles run every 30 minutes starting at 6 a.m., with the last run at 1:30 a.m. The best part? This route has weekend hours starting after 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, making catching a weekend dinner with your friends across campus easy.
Best bathroom: College of Liberal Arts
When you gotta go, you gotta go. When nature calls on campus, you want to be at the College of Liberal Arts building. Equipped with plenty of stalls — and urinals for men — the CLA bathrooms rarely have a line, so you can make it to your next class in plenty of time! What’s most impressive about these bathrooms, however, is just how clean they are. The chances are slim that you’ll walk into a CLA stall and find a log floating inside one of the toilets. That’s the last image you’ll want to see in your head before going to class, especially if you ate lunch at the Glen!
Best study spot: Cook Library
As much as we don’t want hours of studying to be on our minds at the very start of the semester, it’s college. It’s going to happen. The best place to spend endless hours looking over notes and memorizing formulas? Towson University’s Albert S. Cook Library. Whether you’re in need of access to one of the 300-plus computers available, a 24/7 study space to complete work in, or just a venti Frappuccino from Starbucks, Cook Library will have you covered. It even hosts an online catalog full of electronic resources for all your academic needs. In the event that you need additional help with your studies, the library also offers individualized assistance in both the form of person-to-person contact and virtual help via messaging, email or phone. With nearly 500,000 books and an abundance of resources, Cook Library is the best location for a good study-session.
Best administrator: Deb Moriarty
With someone who cares about Towson’s students as much as she does – seriously, it’s practically in her job description – it’s no surprise that Deb Moriarty was voted best administrator. As the Vice President for Student Affairs, Moriarty oversees the Division of Student Affairs’ 15 departments. Moriarty works to ensure that students engage in successful, inclusive, fun, healthy and safe experiences here at Towson University. Got an idea on how to enhance the student development, who are you going to call? Deb Moriarty, of course!
Best way to improve TU: fewer/quicker construction projects
We know that in order to maintain the awesome campus that is Towson University, construction must get done. However, does anyone like having to find alternative routes in order to get to class on time? No. Towson has frequently been under construction in different parts of campus for several years – in 2015, West Village was making additions to housing; in 2016, Starbucks was being renovated (cue all the grumpy college students who couldn’t get their fix of their favorite caffeinated beverages with ease); in 2017, Burdick was still undergoing construction; in 2018, construction is in the works for the new science building near Stephen’s Hall, cutting off the regular walking route from the Glen Garage to the main campus. Despite our school pride, the majority of Towson students agree that having to deal with fewer of these obstacles, or at least not dealing with them for an extended period of time, would make TU a much better place.
Best reason to come to TU: quality education/range of options for majors
With more than 60 majors, 50 minors and many other programs to choose from at Towson University, you’d be hard-pressed not to find a good fit for you. Towson was ranked 10th among public universities in the northern region in The U.S. News & World Report 2018 America’s Best Colleges guide. Students can get the close attention they need to achieve collegiate success with Towson’s 17:1 student-to-faculty ratio.
Best place to work out: Burdick Hall
Need a convenient spot to release that pent-up stress and frustration? Look no further than the newly renovated Burdick Hall. Burdick is open 100 hours per-week during the academic year, and is sure to have something for everyone! If you’re looking to get a good workout in, or just play some basketball with your friends, Burdick is the place for you. As part of Burdick’s recent upgrades, the gym now has a sprint hill, studios for group fitness activities, a Ninja Warrior-style course named “The Jungle,” and several other additions. This spring, forget the expensive gym membership fees, and take advantage of all Burdick Hall has to offer.
Best academic class: COMM 131
“IMMA LET YOU FINISH, BUT COMM 131 IS ONE OF THE BEST CLASSES OF ALL TIME.” Kanye West may not be the best example when it comes to public speaking, however COMM 131, a class on the fundamentals of speech communication, is. No matter your major, knowing how to present yourself and communicate well in front of a group is important, and this class makes sure to push you outside of your comfort zone while still being fun and entertaining. Out of all of the classes at Towson, COMM 131 is the one that anyone can walk away from having learned skills that they will definitely use post-college.
Best professor: Jenny Atwater
If you’re a journalism student, then you already know this star of the mass communication department. And if you aren’t, well, you don’t know what you’re missing. Before becoming a professor at Towson, Jenny Atwater worked as a broadcast reporter all across the country from Boise, Idaho, to Des Moines, Iowa, to right here in Baltimore. Now that she’s here at TU, she’s bestowing her years of media experience on her classes of student journalists. Atwater is continuously encouraging her students to go after the best – not the easiest – stories, to learn the rules of journalism so they can break them later on…and yeah, to listen to the Serial podcast already. Seriously.
Best student group: Black Student Union
Towson’s Black Student Union gives black students and their allies a platform to express and celebrate their identities. BSU provides a gathering opportunity for people who identify as members of or allies to the black community, and stands as a strong voice for minorities of all kinds on campus. The group partners with a wide variety of faculty and community representatives to ensure that the campus is welcoming, inclusive and safe for everyone. The group’s office is conveniently situated on the second floor of the University Union, right across the hall from the SGA office. BSU holds meetings throughout the semester where members discuss topics ranging from self-love to self-defense.
Best upcoming construction project: Union expansion
The Union is home to many events, student group offices and retail stores. However, the building is a little outdated. The Union was voted as the best upcoming construction project because so many students use the building — whether it be to vist the BSU, SGA or CSD offices, pick up some Chick-fil-a in between classes, go to an event, or stock up on some extra pencils for class in the UStore. With Towson’s growing campus, it only makes sense that the Union’s expansion is one of the most anticipated construction projects on campus — especially since it was only made for 9,000 students when it was built.
Best place to print: Cook Library
With six different WEPA printing stations in the library and with its central location to most academic buildings, you should have your paper printed just in time for class. Cook Library has a WEPA station on the 1st, 2nd, and 5th floors. And the 3rd floor has 3 stations! By using a credit card or retail points on your OneCard, your paper will be printed on the spot for just a few cents — whether you need it in black and white, or in color.
Best place to buy textbooks: University Store
We’ve all been through textbook struggles. Whether it be getting the wrong edition, missing online access codes or even ordering the right books, but receiving them two weeks too late. The UStore is the one place Towson students feel they can rely on in order to receive the books they need on time, while also getting a good deal. Located in the University Union, the UStore also offers price matching, buybacks and a textbook valet system to help you get the books you need in as little time as possible. Getting textbooks from the UStore means getting the resources you need with as little stress as possible.
Best on-campus eats: Au Bon Pain
“Au Bon Pain” might be French for “The Good Bread,” but it’s universal for all great food. Whether you want to snack on a Napa chicken and avocado wrap, swing by for some gooey mac ‘n cheese, or just want to pick up your favorite double chocolate mudslide cookie, ABP is the place to go on campus to swipe away any extra meals. If there are any drawback to ABP, it’s that it closes at 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and at 3 p.m. on Friday!
Best grocery store: Trader Joe’s
After starting in the 50s as a small chain of Southern California convenience stores, Trader Joe’s quickly expanded with the goal of saving consumers money. Ranked at No. 16 on Forbes’ “America’s Best Employers” list and No. 1 as The Business Journals’ preferred grocer, Trader Joe’s is the place to go for all your grocery needs. Their website also has a recipes section, so for those who are interested in doing a little more cooking, you need look no further for some inspiration. Luckily for Towson, there’s a Trader Joe’s located over on Kenilworth Drive, so head on over and stock up on all your favorites.
Best pizza: Seasons Pizza
Whether you’re ordering online, over the phone, or in person, Seasons Pizza will get your pizza to you warm and cheesy every time. Seasons offers delivery and carry-out options for whatever schedule you’re on. Not to mention their late hours — they close at midnight Sunday through Wednesday, and they don’t close until 3 a.m. Thursday through Saturday — make your round-the-clock pizza cravings easier than ever to satisfy. Located on York Road, Seasons is in close proximity to campus. Picking up a meal from their storefront would only be a 5 minute walk for those who live in Scarborough and Prettyman Halls, and is right next to off-campus apartments. Seasons isn’t just a pizza place either — they offer wings, paninis, desserts, stromboli and calzones, salads, and more. My mouth is watering just at the thought of their endless possibilities.
Best burger: Five Guys
Five Guys is a must-visit burger joint for college students on a budget – and really, who isn’t? These dudes let you stack as many as 15 free toppings on your burger. Seriously, you’ll want to go “all the way” with this. This category might be for “best burger,” but we’d be remiss if we didn’t note Five Guys’ delicious fries. Warm, salty, heavenly. Not to mention the employees (thankfully) have no concept of portion control – you’ll be digging into your paper bag of delicious, seemingly endless fries forever.
Best dessert: Cheesecake Factory
Whether you’re surprising your boo with their favorite dessert or just celebrating the fact that you didn’t fail your biology class, your sweet tooth will thank you for visiting Cheesecake Factory. Catch the Tiger-in-Town shuttle to the Towson Town Center and choose from Cheesecake Factory’s over 30 flavors of cheesecake. From fruity selections like lemon raspberry cream or banana cream cheesecakes, to chocolate-lovers’ favs like decadent Godiva or Oreo cheesecakes, you’ll definitely be coming back for more…and more…and more.
Best coffee: Starbucks
For many, Starbucks is their home-away-from home at Towson University. No matter where you’re from, you know you’re grande caramel macchiato will always taste the same with it’s sweet milk and zingy espresso to help you get the jolt you need to be ready for your next test. An upside, too, is its location right inside Cook Library! Right when you walk into the library, you can stop at Starbucks and get your espresso drink and cake pop to get you through that long study sesh. Downside? The Starbucks in Cook is closed Saturday and Sunday! Fortunately, the one on York Road is open everyday so you can get your daily dose of caffeine.
Best late-night eats: Paws
Paws is a convenient choice for those living on campus when they’re craving some late-night eats. Those who live in the Towers only have to walk about 5 minutes to get their hands on some of Paws’ chicken fingers and fries. Paws is open until 2 a.m. Monday through Friday and closes at 11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, so you know Paws has your back if you’re craving some fresh fried food late at night. In addition to its good food, Paws environment is good for both hanging out with friends and playing some pool, or utilizing their big comfy booths with outlets to do some last minute studying.
Best bar/nightclub: The Rec Room
One of the best parts of being a Towson Tiger is going uptown on the weekends. There are endless amounts of bars with great atmosphere, people and prices. If you’re new to the bar scene at Towson, The Rec Room should be one of the first stops on your list. Rec has a beautiful outdoor patio that’s the perfect spot to hang out with your friends and drink an adult beverage on a beautiful night. Best of all, Coors Light is only going to cost you $3. Drink up and live out the college experience at Rec!
Best liquor store: Wells Discount Liquors
Are you throwing a wild party with all of your friends this semester? If you are, you should plan on stocking up at Wells Discount Liquors. Just a short drive from campus, Wells has all you need to make your party a hit. The best part about going to Wells is that the store almost always has a tasting. So if you need an expensive bottle of champagne to pop, or just a cheap six pack of beer, make Wells Discount Liquors your one stop shop.
Best happy hour menu: On The Border
Let’s face it. We college students love to eat and drink, but are also broke. Not to fear, though. On The Border has you covered with endless happy hour options! On weekdays from 3 to 7 p.m., OTB has $2 domestic drafts, $5 CaronaRita’s and $12 pitchers of margaritas. If you’re going to enjoy your margarita pitcher, though, you will need to put some food on your belly. OTB has $2 queso and guac appetizers, and $3 cheese quesadillas. So if you’re looking to pregame before the pregame, stop at On The Border for happy hour!
Best hangover cure: Towson Hot Bagels
Being 21 can cause headaches. Not just from the late-night studying, but also from the late-night partying. If you ever find yourself in need of something to cure a hangover and are out of pickle juice in your fridge, go to Towson Hot Bagels immediately. THB has greasy bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches and sausage, egg and cheese sandwiches that are sure to cure your hangover. If you feel like being healthy, THB also has options for you like Uncle Gigi’s bagel with Muenster cheese and sprouts. So if aspirin and water aren’t cutting it for you the next morning, head over to THB.
Best under-21 fun: Towson mall
Towson Town Center Shopping Mall, located just minutes away from the University’s campus, is the hot-spot for students under 21 – and with good reason. Whether you’re looking to stay on trend with some new clothes, eat out with friends or just kill time, Towson Mall serves as the ultimate arena for those not yet old enough to go to the bars and clubs in the area. Its close proximity to campus makes it an easy choice for both those without access to cars, and those who are unfamiliar with the entirety of the Towson area. Its four levels full of different shops and locations guarantee that boredom will never be an option.
Best first date: Nando’s Peri Peri
Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. You’ve finally built up the courage to ask out that cutie in your psychology class, but where are you going to take them for your date together? Located in Towson Square, Nando’s is the place to be for Portuguese, flame-grilled chicken. You can get your chicken with sauces ranging in heat from plain to extra hot, if you and your date are feeling a little spicy. Not to mention they have a selection of delicious sides like yellow rice and buttery mashed potatoes. When you’ve finished, you can walk next door to the Cinemark theatres to catch a showing of “Jumanji,” “Proud Mary,” “Lady Bird,” or maybe even the latest “Star Wars” movie.
Best men’s sports team: Lacrosse
Head Coach Shawn Nadelen led the Tigers to their third straight Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Championship last season. Towson finished the season with a 12-5 overall record and a 4-1 record in conference play.
The team began their NCAA tournament run with in impressive victory over No. 8 Penn State. Following that win, the Tigers defeated No. 2 Syracuse to advance to the NCAA semifinals for just the third time in the program’s history.
Despite a loss in the semifinals, Nadelen looks to bounce back this season and lead his team even deeper into the postseason.
Best women’s sports team: Volleyball
Last year, the Tigers kicked off the season with an impressive 16-game winning streak. The team finished the season as the number two seed in the CAA, and had several players honored by the conference throughout the season.
Under the leadership of Head Coach Don Metil, Towson reached the CAA semifinals and earned a spot in the National Invitational Volleyball Championship (NIVC), making its first postseason appearance in 13 years.
The Tigers look to improve on their impressive 2017 season next fall as the team returns several key players, including seniors Jocelyn Kuilan and Anna Holehouse.
Best men’s athlete: Jordan McNeil
Jordan McNeil might not be a highly utilized player for the Towson men’s basketball team, but he is a very fun player to watch when he gets on the court. McNeil is a sharpshooting, lengthy guard with a quick release.
He averages close to 16 minutes each game, but he can erupt at any moment. In Towson’s home opener against Frostburg State, he registered 17 points, including four baskets from beyond the arc.
He showed that same ability later in the season against Oakland when he scored 18 points on just seven shots, and didn’t record a miss from the field. The redshirt junior should see an increased role next season with the departure of a few senior perimeter players.
Best women’s athlete: Julymar Otero
In the 2017 season, Julymar Otero registered several individual achievements for Towson women’s volleyball in an extremely competitive conference.
She was named First Team All-CAA, finished second in the country with six triple-double performances and became the first player in program history to have multiple triple-doubles in the same season.
Otero appeared in all 33 contests in 2017 — starting in 24 of them — and finished the season with 293 kills.
Best coach: Pat Skerry
Pat Skerry has been a pillar of consistency in his time at Towson. This season, the team got off to its best start in program history, going 10-1 and receiving votes in the Associated Press Top 25.
Skerry has made improvements off the court as well. He was a key component in starting an autism awareness weekend that takes place each season. During that weekend, numerous coaches and media members wear a blue puzzle piece pin as a sign of awareness.
Skerry signed a contract extension in mid-December, and looks to lead the Tigers to even more success moving forward.