In February, I spent five days at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. After a 25-minute ride from Philadelphia on a local train, I stepped directly onto the college campus, a relatively spacious area with its share of woods, mowed grass, a river, and various types of architecture.

The town of Swarthmore is a nice, small town, not too far from Philadelphia to have cow pastures, but not so close to have skyscrapers dotting the skyline. Unfortunately, prices in town are high, because the townspeople know that they have a monopoly on the students’ business.

Dorms can be co-ed, single sex, on- or off-campus, and can be modern or Victorian in design and architecture. I wasn’t in a group, so I got a room for myself, part of a two-room double.

The college isn’t very large, (only about 1,300 students), and I quickly got to know some of the students. There’s only one dining hall, so much socializing goes on during meals. Intramural sports are another means of getting to know people informally, and there’s always something else to do – from parties to recycling drives.

The students are fairly laid back, but they seem to be pretty serious about their schoolwork and sports. Varsity sports take place at the indoor athletic center, or at an outdoor track and field. On the academic side, during the class I visited, even though the teacher was out, all the students stayed to have class by themselves.

Everyone I met was friendly to me, teachers and students included. They all seemed to enjoy their relatively peaceful surroundings on the campus. Occasionally, the peace is broken by “pterodactyl hunts,” and days when everyone sets up their roommate with a blind date. I left during a blind date. I left during a blood drive. I left feeling good.

Reviewed in 1990