April 11, 2012

Day Two

Today’s drive was not nearly so far. Last night we drove from Richmond, IN to Washington, PA where we stayed in a Day’s Inn-another story.

This morning, we drove approximately 3 hours to Huntingdon, PA to Juniata College. The drive through the mountains along Route 22 and 322 was breathtaking. And, Juniata is nestled in a very charming little town as well-much more so than Richmond.

Juniata is another of the CTCL schools described in Loren Pope’s book, Colleges That Change Lives. It’s bigger than Earlham, 1600 students, but shares some important characteristics such as the absence of Greek life and a strong sense of community. Juniata prides itself on several annual ‘traditions’ that most everyone seems to love and enjoy. Like Earlham, there is no “information session” for families, but instead a one-on-one with an admissions counselor for most all student visitors. We met with a terrific counselor, Rylan, who Jeremy will see again at his school this fall.

The Juniata campus is attractive and comprised of a variety of older and newer buildings that blend together well and surround a quad of sorts that slopes down a hill. Some of the newer buildings, including a classroom building that we saw, have those awful institutional cement blocks that remind me of prison cells, but others, like one dorm we saw, have beautiful (plaster?) walls and classic wood trim and moldings. There are two dining halls, one on top of the other, which look nice enough, one with a more limited schedule, and the other open all day. We didn’t eat there, though, so we can’t comment on the food. The entrance hall to the student union is particularly unimpressive, however. But, as Jeremy noted, most students probably just pass through the entranceway and do not take much notice. Seeing it, however, reminded me how beautiful the student center at Earlham is.

Our tour guide, a junior named Rachel, was bubbly and enthusiastic about the school. She, too, spoke at length about the traditions and looks forward to the many annual events that contribute to a strong sense of community. We didn’t meet the soccer coach, but left a note and a tape in his office in the athletic center, which is very nice and includes a pool!

Celeste is especially thrilled as the school offers her major, which they call POEs, Programs of Emphasis. Original! When we first arrived and drove through the campus, Jeremy didn’t think he would like Juniata. But he left liking the school very much, which proves how important a tour and interview can be!

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