Ok so I’m here on the campus of Vassar College
and Vassar is known as being one of the most beautiful campuses in America, it really is.
It’s just gorgeous. And I often wonder–Vassar used to be a women’s college and some of my favorite
campuses in America are women’s colleges. I love Mount Holyoke–absolutely gorgeous.
Bryn Mawr, impressively dramatic–just absolutely beautiful. Smith–fantastic, and I like Scripps
too. Of the Claremont Colleges, that tends to be my favorite in terms of aesthetics.
Aesthetics are interesting and kinda fun when visiting a college campus. I was recently
at Colby College and I was with one of my students–I was taking him on a personalized
tour–and it was kinda fun with him because we not only viewed all the beautiful spots
on campus, but we also went kinda behind the central area of the campus just to get a view.
And I pointed out that, well, every campus has its less-than beautiful aspects to it.
So I’m here. These are apartments behind me. This is Vassar College and these are apartments
and they’re–honestly they look a little bit like glorified double-wide trailers. They’re
painted this kind of, insipid green and they do have these nice little port-a-cos on them–these little porches that keep the snow off the doors–but you know, every campus sometimes goes through
growing pains. It has to build housing in a hurry at a relatively low price and so,
this is Vassar. There are absolutely drop-dead gorgeous aspects to Vassar that really are
incomparable in terms of their beauty–the library, the main building, the dormitories,
the residential quad–gorgeous. But it pays to take a drive around and look around at
things beyond the central campus. To look behind those other buildings and see what
else is a part of Vassar because we do find some ugliness here and that is going to be
part of your experience as well. So just make sure that when you do visit a college campus,
that you don’t just stick with the packaged dog-and-pony show and tour, that you take
the time to walk around, get a view of the entire campus. Drive around, see the surrounding
community, because you will get a much more balanced view of what that campus is really
like. Every campus has its ugly bits. This is probably one of the ugliest aspect of Vassar,
but it definitely is part of it and you need to understand what you’re buying–all the beauty,
all the warts–to get an understanding of what it is you are going to be experiencing
for the next four years.