If you’re looking to practice your lightsaber or force techniques on campus, this is the article for you!

The day of the year has come when Sci-fi and Star Wars fans rejoice and celebrate! As celebrations get underway, the siths, jedis, and I at Bwog thought it was imperative to share the best places to celebrate moments of intergalactic triumph on this special day. Before heading into the list, I think it is important to share what makes a location optimal for a lightsaber duel. 

The first attribute we are looking for is verticality. Verticality is essential to every battle, as it is what allows for the battle to not result in a stalemate. Someone has to get the high ground and overpower their opponent with strength or use the low ground and their own wits to outsmart their opponent. Another important trait for an ideal dueling spot is extravagance and scenery. While this does not directly impact the duel itself, it impacts the feeling and momentousness of the battle. The battle needs to feel like a life or death situation where you and your opponent are going all out. The last trait I looked for was posability, or the ability to make a cool pose after defeating your opponent. I feel like I do not need to explain this one. Obviously, this is the most significant and profound of the desired traits and will be weighted more heavily when deciding the list. Enough stalling; let’s go! 

#9 The Hartley and Wallach Picnic Tables

In spot number 9, we have the Hartley and Wallach tables. The space is more than large enough for an epic lightsaber duel; however, the ground being flat results in the scenery around the area being a little lackluster compared to other selections. Notable background objects for the duel are the tents, which can be slashed into, or the Hartley and Wallach gates onto Amsterdam, which allow you to take the battle to the streets. The tables and adjacent Hamilton stairs, though they are the worst stairs and verticality on campus, add a little verticality, but not enough to bump up this location on the list. The factor that got this location on the list was the fact that the duel would be watched by all the campus-facing inhabitants of Hartley, Wallach, and John Jay, as well as any staff or faculty passing by. This is something some of the other spots on this list don’t have, but they make it up with better everything else.

#8 The Law Bridge

The Law Bridge is a really solid jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none pick for a lightsaber duel. It is in close proximity to a lot of landmark locations on campus and has good verticality, with the ability to change up the scenery by jumping down onto Amsterdam or moving up towards East Campus and down towards Low. This is all great. However, the main fighting area is a little bland, with some grass and a couple of statues and tables to jump off of. Also, there is nowhere to really pose after completing your duel—maybe on top of a statue or table? Additionally, who would be watching the battle? All of the law students will be cooped up in the nearby library or elsewhere and not observing your battle unless you smash into the library, which I wholeheartedly recommend so someone can watch you fight. I would recommend this location to a novice dueler, but for my fellow professional LARPers and intergalactic warriors, I would suggest one of the higher spots.

#7  The Sundial

You all knew this was coming. The location is at the heart of campus, where everyone can witness your battle, and you can pose triumphantly, powerfully, or perhaps elegantly in the center of the Sundial. One might say there is not a lot of verticality or area for fighting, and I would agree. However, I did say that the ability to pose was weighed significantly more than the fighting potential, and this is an example of that criteria. While there isn’t a lot of verticality, there definitely is some ability to jump around the Sundial, and the scenery around the Sundial is very conducive for a lightsaber battle. From the Sundial, you would be able to be seen by pretty much anyone on campus, making this one of the ultimate skirmish spots. 

#6 Low Steps

Like the Sundial, you knew this was gonna appear on the list. When you think of the verticality of campus, surely your first thought is of Low Steps, unless it’s of John Jay since it towers over the campus like the tree it truly is. I don’t have much to really say about Low Steps. It’s just a bunch of steps at the center of campus, and it has pillars and platforms for some cool verticality, especially right now with the commencement and graduation stuff being set up. You definitely can’t go wrong picking Low Steps, and you could make a pretty cool pose on the steps after winning—or losing and lying limply or sliding down the stairs sadly and slowly, devoid of life and possibly 3 limbs. This is probably the safest and also the most basic pick on the list.

#5 Havemeyer 309

This is not the first thing that comes to mind when casually pondering lightsaber fighting spots, but if you think about it, it is actually one of the best locations. The room itself has some of the best verticality on campus with its mezzanine, reminiscent of the Galactic Senate Chamber in Star Wars. The scenery initially is not amazing, but I’m sure everyone would love to tear through the chemistry department’s home base due to the pain and suffering they might have gone through in the building. Additionally, the connected building, Chandler, gives off heavy sci-fi vibes. When exploring the Chandler chem labs at night, the first thing I thought of was imagining a red lightsaber igniting in the dark, liminal hallways. Overall, Havemeyer 309 is one of the most underrated lightsaber dueling locations, so I needed to include it on the list. 

#4 Milstein Library Roof Gardens 

The Milstein Roof Gardens is, by far, the best location for a lightsaber duel on Barnard’s campus. The verticality offered by the roofs of differing heights, with the tall adjacent tower and the ability to drop down to the stairs near the entrance of Milstein, is unrivaled. The scenery is definitely worthy of this placement, with the view of the Hudson and the rest of the city surrounding you while you fight. The only thing holding back this place is that there really aren’t that many amazing places to pose. You could certainly do so on the highest accessible roof, but winning a fight on one of the roofs would not give you the triumph you deserve. Because of the rest of the attributes being the best of the best, Milstein’s Roof Gardens gets 4th on the list. 

#3 On Top of Low Library Dome

In a similar vein to the previous place, this option is for the brave who dare to climb the tower of scaffolding bordering Low Library. It’s a high-risk, high-reward location, with probably the most extravagant and epic scenery on campus. The dome obviously has a lot of verticality due to the nature of domes being spherical and round and such. While dueling on the dome, you will have a view of the city as well as everyone beneath you on campus, and they also have a view of you. Most importantly, the pose you can make from on top of the dome would be euphoric. The only downside to this option is that getting up to the dome can prove to be difficult, but if you are able to make it up with your opponent, you will surely have a fight for the legends.

#2 Ferris Dining Hall

If you didn’t think of Low Steps or John Jay when thinking about verticality on campus, perhaps you were thinking of Ferris and its multi-leveled structure with its spiral staircase and tables of differing heights. As I just described, Ferris easily has the best, most accessible verticality on campus. Ferris is always packed with people, so while you are fighting, the people waiting, eating, or just sitting outside Lerner would be able to see your epic duel. While you are fighting, you and your opponent can take a brief three-hour intermission to wait in line for snacks and continue the fight while eating. At the end of your fight, posing on top of the dessert bar would certainly be a cool finish. 

#1 Skybridge Between Mudd and Schapiro

Every time I pass by Mudd and Schapiro, I peer above to see the skybridge connecting the two futuristic buildings and wonder at the things I could do while in that space. Today I share something that I have been wanting to do forever: Lightsaber battling on the bridge. A blue and red blade clashing at dusk in a dimly lit bridge illuminating the night would surely be a sight, the most extravagant sight on this list. Any people visiting Mudd and Schapiro or pedestrians on 120th would see the duel in all of its glory. At the end of the fight, your pose would have an endless sky behind you for everyone to see. This is, evidently, the best location for a lightsaber duel.

Lightsaber duel via the incomplete archives (Sci-fi club)