Saint Joseph’s University has a total of seven academic buildings on campus in which classes are held. With so many buildings, you can’t deny that some are just better than others. To help you get through classes in these buildings, or even find new study places, we have made a list of the best academic buildings on campus, rated from best to worst. This ranking is based on the ability to learn and focus in each building. This is affected by food availability, desk space/size, classroom size, “hidden treasures” and any other factors that may affect one’s ability to learn or stay focused. Leave a comment below to tell us what we nailed, and what we got wrong!


Mandeville: Mandeville has earned the coveted first place spot on our list for various reasons. The building itself is beautiful, with it’s new technology, dark wood panelling and open seating in every classroom. The physical appeal of Mandeville alone makes it a more comforting environment to learn in. Additionally, Mandeville is the building closest to Starbucks, allowing students to run and get coffee or a snack before or even between classes with ease. Don’t like Starbucks? Mandeville has its own POD, which is a smaller version of the one seen in Campion. Behind this POD is a small seating area with tables where you can eat and do work if necessary. Still not satisfied? Take the five minute walk down to Campion for an actual meal. Lastly, Mandeville is the perfect spot to study for those who do not function in complete silence.

“I like studying on the second floor of Mandeville because it’s quiet enough, but you still hear classes going on and in between classes there is noise, so it’s a bit stimulating while still quiet enough to get my work done.” –Nina Bautista ‘20

Mandeville by Natalie Conway

Merion: While Merion seems to be a popular study place–just check out the atrium any time before 4 PM–it received second place on our list. Merion has a lot to offer students in terms of food accessibility, open tables in the classrooms, and various labs with computers and shareable screens. Einstein and the vending machines next to the Writing Center provide students with options as the day drags on and their stomachs begin to grumble. While Einstein is perfect for your morning classes, as the day continues, people often desire lunch foods versus Einstein array of breakfast choices. While the menu shows lunch options, I’ve never seen a lunch order cross the counter. Additionally, the large tables and easy access to technology makes studying, learning in class, and working on group projects much easier. There’s no fight over tables in the library, or finding an outlet to plug everyone’s computers in. But, Merion’s location sucks. You would think that a building that is central to an entire college within the university would have more amenities that make it’s far location off of central campus, a bit easier to live with. Merion has the least amount of parking options on campus and within the surrounding blocks of Merion. It also has the most dedicated Public Safety officers, meaning you’re bound to get a ticket if you create your own spot. Additionally, the only food option is Einstein, making it impossible to enjoy a real meal during lunch or dinner without having to cross campus to get to Campion.

Merion by Natalie Conway

Barbelin: Oh our beautiful Barb! She’s beauty, she’s grace, she’s impossible to navigate. As if heading into your 8 AM Philosophy lecture wasn’t bad enough, having it in Barbelin means leaving yourself at least ten minutes to actually find the classroom every morning. The third floor is really the fourth, the second sometimes is the first, and there are stairways that lead to nowhere. So why such a high ranking? Besides her close location to both Campion and the library, Barbelin wins in terms of best bathrooms on campus and best photo-op location. Barbelin is the only building that offers one person bathrooms. So whether the Campion hits in the middle of class or you want to cry over yet another bad Theology grade, Barbelin gives you the ability to do it with the added pleasure of complete privacy. And as every Hawk knows, what would SJU be without our beautiful Barb?

“You know you’re back from break when you wake up for class and there’s five pictures of Barb on your Snapchat talking about how she was missed, or how beautiful she is. We even made her a girl, so like…weird.”–Erin Fahey ‘19

Barbelin by Natalie Conway

Science Center: As a former science major, the Science Center and I have a pretty rocky relationship. With a mixed arrangement of classes, from lecture style seating, to close-knit desks, to lab tables that stretch the length of the classroom, the Science Center offers a wide range of classroom styles, to fit everyone’s preferences. For a building with tons of glass and labs going on, the Science Center is generally quiet. An occasional beaker shatters, or biology major cries in the corner, but the building is also peacefully quiet during class times. The Science Center is in a great location, next to Campion and the library and right in the middle of campus. So on those rainy days, any pathway to the building will work. But ultimately, it ranked so poorly because of its asylum white walls and stairways from hell. Every wonder why science majors are so crazy? They learn in a building with white brick walls…in every room. The only pop of color comes from your peers’ clothing, which eventually gets covered by lab coats in labs. The stairwells are small and narrow, with the white walls changing to dark brick. It’s truly like walking to a dungeon of some sort. The wooden doors with black painted numbers on them really add to the “asylum aesthetic” of the building. So next time your roommate is going crazy over going to lab, understand why.

Science Center by Natalie Conway

Bellarmine: Bellarmine is definitely not a fan favorite around campus. Maybe due to the fact that you have to go down two flights of stairs, just to climb again once you get inside, or having to do it in reverse, once class ends. Maybe due to the fact that the classrooms are overcrowded to the point that kids are leaning against the walls, apologizing to their neighbor every time they move. Or perhaps it’s the small desks that can barely fit my notebook, nevertheless my notebook, assigned textbook and morning coffee. So why not give Bellarmine last place? Because I believe Bellarmine has a hidden gem. Most students don’t know, especially freshmen who usually have class here, that Bellarmine has a POD in the basement. This POD has a variety of drinks to choose from like juice, energy drinks and coffee. It has a section for snacks and breakfast type foods like to-go cereal or oatmeal. There are also tables and seats for students to study at or eat whatever they’ve bought.

“The seats are way too small and like the whole room is small and crowded. I hate it.” –Catherine Moffett ‘22

Bellarmine by Natalie Conway

Connelly: Most students have absolutely no idea where this building is, nevertheless that it exists. While Connelly is home to one of SJU’s greatest programs, the Kinney Center, it goes practically unnoticed by students not involved. Connelly often drifts into the background due to its location off to the side of Merion, and it’s tan brick exterior. Connelly is a very makeshift building academically. It reminds you of a high school classroom, with desks scattered everywhere, chairs of all different colors, desks of all different styles. This building almost seems thrown together for classes that couldn’t fit in other buildings. There is a lack of any food availability and the lack of structure in this building make it one that is seen as an “in and out” building you’re forced into for class.

Connelly by Natalie Conway

Post Hall: What is that God awful smell? No seriously, what is that smell in Post? It never really hits you until you go up a flight of stairs or two, but when it hits you, it’s a smack in the face. If I had to describe it, I would say it smells like the floor of a carepted fish store. The mix of an aquarium and moldy carpet. How can anyone focus with a smell like that lingering? Additionally, Post is another building with absolutely zero food options. Though the smell might make it hard to eat, learning on an empty stomach is never a good idea. Some students prefer this building to others because it is quiet, or the area outside is nice to sit at. But others hate this building for how small it is. With a narrow staircase, narrow halls and small classrooms, it sometimes feels like a tiny home version of an academic building. Hence its last place ranking on our list.

Post Hall by Natalie Conway

If you feel our list did an injustice to your favorite academic building, let us know in the comments below!


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