Boston, MA: My tour of Emerson College in Boston, Massachu-setts started out with an unexpected glitch: the film projector to display a feature about college life would not work. This surprised me coming from a school which prides itself on its technology. But the malfunction was soon corrected, and after an overview of Emerson’s assets, we were on our way to the campus.
Emerson is composed of a widespread collection of brick buildings along cobblestone streets, some of which border the Boston Commons. Its people are generally loud, colorful and friendly, with a competitive edge. Education in this specialty school (which focuses on communication and the performing arts) seems to stress the value of thinking creatively and speaking well.
Our two student tour guides exemplified these qualities. The young men entertained our quiet bus load with stories of adventurous classmates and pointed out famous landmarks like the restaurant, “Cheers.” One guide disapproved of the place. “I went there,” he said, “Nobody knew my name.”
The first stop was at the Brimmer Street building housing the performing arts programs. Various little theaters are found within, providing rehearsal space for dancers, actors, and singers. Most major productions are performed at the beautiful Emerson Majestic Theater, which is located in the heart of Boston’s theater district. At the Mass Communications Division on Beacon Street we were led down a dark staircase into the television studio and newsroom, both of which are equipped with the latest in television technology. Upstairs was Emerson’s excellent radio station. All of the students on the tour were fascinated by the two walls which boasted the signatures of famous bands which had performed there, including Arrested Development and Nirvana.
What really impressed me about Emerson were the outlets it provided for student creativity and production. Every major offered valuable opportunities for work experience at its particular field. Journalists can write for the award winning Berkeley Beacon; playwrights can see their work performed on a professional stage and those working with communication disorders can not only observe but assist children and adults in service programs.
Emerson also has connections all over the world. The presence of what our tour guide called an “Emerson Mafia” has been established in Los Angeles where alumni and traveling students have cut a place for themselves in the entertainment community. Students can also experience Europe, staying at Emerson’s castle in the Netherlands.
I liked Emerson for its creative freedom, opportunities and wonderful location in Boston. Although the dorms are a bit rough, its students seem quite happy and satisfied with the living conditions. Students who are looking for a college which offers the three E’s: experience, excitement and education, and don’t mind a large city in place of a traditional campus, should really take a look at the big E, Emerson College. f
Reviewed in 1995