April 24, 2011

Guilford College

The highlight of this spring, for me, is our mother-son road trip to North Carolina. For this we had to purchase a newer, roadworthy car. Our plan was to visit old friends who moved here from South Carolina and to see a few colleges along the way. Initially, we planned to drive west from UNC at Chapel Hill, and see that school, Elon, Guildford, Davidson and Warren Wilson. Of course, everything took longer than planned and we just focused on Guildford and Warren Wilson.

Guilford was founded by Quakers, originally as the New Garden Boarding School in 1834. It became Guilford College in 1888. It's a unique and attractive school with a rolling green quad surrounded by older and attractive brick buildings. The school sits on 340 acres, 200 of which are wooded and contain a lake and hiking trails. There are approximately 2,800 students, but some are high school/early college and others are adults returning to school. The student-teacher ratio is about 18-1, but the largest freshman seminar only has 36 students. There are several different housing options available for freshmen, including co-ed living. But there is no greek life at all. The people are warm, welcoming and friendly and although Jeremy and I were on separate tours, we each experienced the best tours we had ever had. (This was Jeremy's third school visit.) Guilford offers several majors that are of interest to Jeremy. They seem to have a big focus on the arts and an active music scene. My tour guide, Leah, showed us two places that make Guilford special to her. The first was a little one room house, sort of for worship, but for many different religions. It serves as a tea house, a place for Quaker meeting, a place for Friday Shabat, and a space for meditation. It has a fire place and comfortable couches. The second place is a student run organic and fair trade coffee house that is open seven days a week. It serves coffees, teas and foods and the profits are used to put on school-wide events and sponsor special activities. Leah made us promise to buy our afternoon coffee there instead of at Starbucks. After our tour we ate a great lunch in one of the three dining options. We left Guildford excited and encouraged that we had found a great option for Jeremy.

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