21 Fun Facts About 12 Colleges

At the 2019 IECA Spring conference, a collection of colleges was invited to explain themselves, lightning-round style, in five minutes or fewer. Here is some of what we remember about what each of them said.

Brandeis is not a Jewish college, but it is Jew-ish. It is non-sectarian and 50% of its student body is of other backgrounds. Franklin & Marshall is located in “hip, artsy” Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Kirkwood Community College in Kirkwood, Iowa, attracts students from 38 states. Tuition is $6,400 a year, and on-campus housing another $5,500. It has a 5-star hotel on campus. Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin may sound “not very big” but it has three campuses and a conservatory.

Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida, posts all assignments via an iPad app. Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio, was the first to go co-ed and admit students of color. It teaches students how to think, not what to think, and embraces smallness.

Ohio Wesleyan is only 20 miles from Columbus. RIT, in Rochester New York, is career-oriented and is one of a handful of schools offering a co-op program. Sometimes it snows. University of British Columbia also has a co-op program and all students get a three-year work permit upon graduation. Buses are free because … Canada. University of Pittsburgh is actually three miles from downtown but is still an urban campus. Known for sciences, it guarantees undergraduates admission to graduate programs. Ursinus College is near Philadelphia, has an organic farm and 75 outdoor sculptures.

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Goucher Redefines Liberal Arts

Washington Post: “At Goucher College, students no longer need to take a broad range of introductory classes outside their major to graduate. For non-science majors, Introduction to Biology has been replaced by Disease and Discrimination, a course that crosses disciplines to explore the inequalities in access to health care. Introduction to Philosophy was dropped for Society in the Age of Intelligent Machines. Math has become Integrative Data Analytics. Responding to a growing national debate over the relevance of a traditional liberal arts education, Goucher and other small, private liberal arts colleges … have adjusted course offerings, lowered tuition, added graduate classes that lead to employment and developed other strategies to attract students.”

“The long-held academic requirements to take a broad range of courses in a variety of disciplines have been replaced with multidisciplinary courses called ‘complex problem explorations.’ Instead of introductory classes, students take courses that might be taught by a biology professor but use a variety of disciplines to look at a contemporary issue …Because employers seek workers who can operate in teams, the college requires students to work collaboratively at times.”

“St. John’s College in Annapolis, a tiny institution with two campuses, wasn’t going to change its curriculum, which is dedicated to teaching the classics. So it took another bold approach, dropping its tuition from $52,000 a year to $35,000 … St. John’s leadership believes that small colleges can no longer rely on tuition dollars to keep them afloat. Instead, colleges will have to rely on philanthropy … St. John’s has used its tuition drop to launch a capital campaign that has so far raised $200 million toward its goal of $300 million. A year after cutting tuition costs, applications are up 13 percent and the percentage of admitted students who are committed to attending has risen as well.”

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IECA 2019: Where College Consultants Confer

When about 1,500 people who do roughly the same thing for a living get together, the effect is both stimulating and surreal. We knew only a handful of the college admissions consultants in attendance at the 2019 IECA Spring Conference in Chicago, but instantly felt at home in a community that is remarkable for its collaborative spirit and willingness to share. This might come as a surprise to those who think of the college process as cut-throat, but not to anyone who truly understands that getting into a great school is not a zero-sum game, and only the tiniest fraction is angling to get into the most elite colleges and universities.

For everyone else, a cornucopia of some 3,000 institutions of higher learning await, more than just a few of which would be a great place for anyone.

Most of our three days was spent in any number of breakout sessions, where college consultants geek-out on subjects only they could love, or loathe. Sure, there was the inevitable banter about the college admissions scandal, but not too much because it isn’t relevant to our mission to help hard-working students become the best versions of themselves. Some sessions held general appeal, such as one on the admissions essay and another on understanding financial aid. Others were strictly for insiders, like dissecting the relationship between independent and school counselors, or how to manage and grow a college consulting business.

Sandwiched in between were tabletop exhibits from a range of exhibitors with products and services meant to support the college admissions process, as well as prep schools and colleges eager to work with counselors to help them identify ideal prospective students.

Two real highlights were speeches by Robert Zimmer, president of the University of Chicago, and Arne Duncan, a former U.S. Secretary of Education.

Zimmer’s message centered on mission and values, with his key point being that while values don’t change, how they manifest themselves can. He spoke about critical thinking, originality, and impact on society, stressing the imperative to argue, challenge assumptions, test ideas and embrace complexity. Such values, rooted in free expression, should not change, and yet on too many college campuses today, Zimmer said, the pressure is on to limit speech.

On the flipside, fulfilling a mission can require change, as is apparent when it comes to ensuring diversity within the academic community, racially, economically, and globally. Doing so requires changing financial aid requirements and initiating programs to attract students from different backgrounds. Finally, Zimmer talked about connecting academics to the real world, by developing careers programs, summer internships, bridging the gaps between intellectual pursuits, solving complex challenges and making a difference.

Arne Duncan emphasized the same connection between college and careers, calling it a both/and situation, not and/or. He also offered a vision that would expand the traditional K-12 model into a pre-K-14 construct, noting the value of starting earlier. Moreover, while a high school diploma is critical (there are zero jobs for dropouts, he said), Duncan argued that completing 12th grade is no longer sufficient to meet the needs of jobs today and tomorrow, which will go where the knowledge workers are.

Duncan called it “mind blowing” that college costs hundreds of thousands of dollars, adding: “College is not a scarce resource.” He also said it was more important what you do when you’re there than the name of the university. A school’s reputation, he continued, should be based on how many students it includes, not how many it keeps out. “It’s no badge of honor to say you can’t come through our doors.”

He was met with a sustained standing ovation.

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DePaul Tour: A Distinctly Vincentian Education

Never afraid of getting too much of a good thing, we squeezed in one last college tour during our Chicago whirlwind. With just hours to spare before our return flight, we grabbed a slow Lyft to DePaul University’s Lincoln Park campus — the residential, horizontal one, as compared to its more compact high-rise Loop campus located about five miles, or 20 minutes, south.

DePaul is a big, private, university of about 16,000 undergraduates and 8,000 graduate students, making it America’s largest Catholic university. What comes clear, pretty quickly, is that DePaul’s Catholic identity is of a distinctly inclusive variety, welcoming a robust mix of Jewish and Muslim students as well as Latinx, Asian and LGBTQ.

Vincentians, followers of the 17th-century French priest Saint Vincent de Paul, founded the school as St. Vincent’s College in 1898. The name changed to DePaul in 1907, but its operative philosophy remains grounded in “teaching and service,” and it still lives and proudly articulates its founding principles more than 100 years later. Our info session leader, herself an impressive recent graduate, summed it up in three succinct bullet points: education, environment and ethos. It’s not often that a school’s defining characteristics are spelled out so quickly, clearly and with feeling.

Education at DePaul finds expression across a total of ten schools and 300 programs. The Lincoln Park campus is home to the colleges of education, arts & sciences, science & health, music and theater. The Loop is where you’ll find schools for business, law, communication, digital media and new learning (for adult students). Both campuses follow the Chicago-style quarterly system, which here includes a 10-day, freshman-year study-abroad opportunity during the six-week winter break.

DePaul considers the Chicago environment to be its classroom, providing opportunities for internships, co-op employment and research. Lincoln Park is where the vast majority of the students who live on campus reside, complete with a lake, a quad, shops, restaurants and nightlife. The Loop more of a downtown, big-city experience. Transit fare is included in tuition.

For all students, the notion of “teaching and service” is the classroom ethos, with studies framed by the questions: What must be done? Whom are you helping? What difference are you making? This holistic view of academics and action perhaps further informs DePaul’s five-year law school program, which students can begin as freshmen, and helps explain why undergraduates can apply to the university’s medical school while pursuing a bachelor’s degree.

One curiosity is the school’s logo. It’s just a little puzzling why a college named after a saint would have a sports team called the Blue Demons and a red-eyed, blue-hued mascot that appears quite the opposite of saintly. The story goes that the team originally was nicknamed the D-men, which morphed into demon and then a blue one because it was a school color, along with scarlet red, accounting for those eyes.

Our tour lasted only a few minutes because we had to return to our hotel to get our bags and then head to the airport. This made us sad, because our guides were a hoot. The one with purple hair said he told his mom he would apply to DePaul and DePaul alone the minute he set foot on campus. “It was just something about the vibe,” he said. The other, a former film production major who switched to economics confided: “I realized I was more interested in watching movies than making them.” With a wry smile and sideways glance, she quipped, ”So, if you know anyone who needs any film production credits …” Clearly, a budding capitalist.

With that, she pointed us to the nearby L station, a mercifully fast train ride downtown, and then yet another bumper-to-bumper car ride back to O’Hare.

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U Chicago Tour: Yes, We Had Fun

Looking for the admissions office, walking through a grand archway, not knowing exactly what was to come, we were stunned by the jaw-dropping elegance of what other colleges might call a quad but at University of Chicago is better described as an English garden. A cut-stone walkway, antique lamp posts with flowers clustered just-so at the base, plantings meticulously curated and placed in tidy circles and squares. This couldn’t possibly be the place where fun goes to die, although it doesn’t exactly scream “let’s play ultimate frisbee!” The 215-acre space is in fact officially designated a Botanic Garden. It certainly makes a statement. This place is different.

Off to the right, there it was, Rosenwald Hall, office of admissions, all spires, gothic gray stone, a red-tile roof, and, naturally, ivy. Once inside, we felt instantly humbled by the faint echo and vaguely damp, dusty aroma that only the most venerable of academic institutions can muster. But first things first, are there any pens? The receptionist seemed startled by our question, but quickly recovered by turning up not just one but five high-quality maroon pens with uchicago in a lowercase gothic font. We were off to a good start.

Our new pens and worn notebooks in hand, our small group was ushered into a compact conference room, replete with one of those European-style, intersecting arched vaulted ceilings. We were invited to take a seat around a dark oak table, with an admissions counselor at its head. It felt more like we were about to participate in a seminar than an info session, which most probably was intentional. What followed was indeed more of a discussion than a presentation. It was certainly one of the crispest, clearest admissions expositions we’ve ever experienced.

Our host wasted no time setting the frame, which is all about 3s. UChicago, like other schools in town, has a trimester system, in which the school year is divided into quarters, with students taking classes during three of the four segments. Courses of study are also divided by thirds, with one-third each dedicated to a major, the core, and electives. The idea is to make sure each student spreads it around, and especially that the opportunity to have some fun with electives is not lost in the avalanche of core and major requirements. The core demands are also flexible, with plenty of options and the freedom to complete them anytime.

To keep their choices on track, all students are assigned an academic advisor the summer before their first year and required to meet at least once per quarter thereafter. This is mandatory: those who fail to schedule such a meeting are barred from registering for the next quarter. Each student is also assigned a career advancement advisor prior to arrival, and while internships are not required, about 90% of students complete at least one, all of them paid.

What’s more, some 900 organizations, everything from major corporations to startups, recruit at UChicago each year. This strong pre-professional emphasis is a little surprising, as UC is historically perceived as overwhelmingly academic. Of course, the two goals are by no means mutually exclusive.

Our discussion turned to campus life, in particular the residential system, which features “houses” within dorms, each composed of between 30-100 students, cutting across all years, who live and play together, taking trips around Chicago, to restaurants, zoos, games, museums — all funded by UChicago. Each house decides by vote how the money will be spent, and the largess is perhaps the centerpiece of the school’s determination to dispel the legend that life there is as serious as a heart attack.

Theories abound as to how UC earned its hard-boiled reputation; it is no doubt a place where students work hard and just might pursue small talk as a blood sport. That could be true of any number of elite universities, though. According to our host, the unfortunate trope dates back to the 1960s, when UChicago disbanded its clubs and built a library where its stadium used to be. That would do it. He said that “fun goes to die” T shirts remain popular, but only as a joke.

That fun is alive and well was dramatically reinforced by Ellie, our tour guide, who introduced herself by rapping about her life at UChicago and what she loves about it. As we walked the campus, she wisecracked about the questionable aesthetics of the new Max Palevsky dorm (the best thing about it was being inside because then you don’t have to see the outside), touted the arts pass that gets you into countless museums and venues, and the free public transportation that is an open invitation to explore all that Chicago has to offer.

As we walked through the Science Quad, Ellie pointed out a foreboding, windowless brick building with vented siloes running from bottom to top and said the Zombie Readiness Task Force, a student club, had named it the safest building on campus in the event of an apocalypse. She regaled us with stories of a madcap scavenger hunt, a mini art-museum, and a really weird cafe where plastic gloves hang from the ceiling as Gregorian chants waft through the sound system. If any doubt remained as to whether one could have fun here, Ellie erased it. The only real X-factor may be your idea of fun.

Meanwhile, back at our info seminar, we turned to the so-called Chicago “extended” essay, which applicants sometimes approach with dread, although the prompts clearly are built for whimsy. The question can be deceptively simple, such as: compare apples and oranges. The point is to get a sense of how you think, and so the key is to interpret the question in the context of something that’s meaningful to you. For example, one might write about apples versus oranges in terms of science, philosophy, linguistics or economics.

A new essay topic is released each year in mid/late June, but applicants have the option to choose from any question ever posed from years past. Just pick a prompt that speaks to you and for which your response comes easily. It’s basically an opportunity to showcase whatever you are most passionate about.

Be true to yourself, and, yes, have fun with it.

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Wisconsin Tour: Small City, Big Campus

Located in a capital city and with a total student population of about 44,000, it would seem a given that the University of Wisconsin at Madison would be a bit on the overwhelming side. That the first big thing we saw was a really big stadium reinforced our initial preconception, while also hardening an assumption that this Big Ten school would be as sports-crazed as they come. No question that Wisconsin is a huge school that loves its Badgers, but “overwhelming” only applies in the best sense of the word, as in rich in opportunity across multiple dimensions.

The campus is unmistakably an urban setting, but one that is better described as an overgrown town than a bustling city, directionally not unlike, say, another capital locale known as DC. The buildings tend toward low-slung rather than high-rise, the vibe is energetic but not crowded, and the sheer size of the footprint is casually remedied on wheels: students navigating here and there on bicycles, scooters and even skateboards. Big doesn’t have to mean unmanageable, and urban doesn’t necessarily render in shades of midtown Manhattan. Madison is a sweet spot.

As a large university, Wisconsin is ready for just about anyone, offering up some 130 majors and 60 certificates across eight schools and colleges: Business, Education, Engineering, Human Ecology (SOHE), Pharmacy, Nursing, College of Letters & Sciences and College of Agriculture & Life Sciences (CALS). It is possible to enter a specific college, or else as undeclared and then switch in later, apparently without much difficulty. Academic guidance begins the summer prior to freshman year, when students are assigned an advisor and supported by a program called Student Orientation Advising and Registration, or SOAR.

If you haven’t yet noticed, Wisconsin is particularly fond of acronyms, such as the Greater University Tutoring Service (GUTS) and Student Activity Center (SAC). Its First Year Interest Groups, or FIGs, invite cohorts of about 20 new students to take a set of three or four diverse but related classes centered on a particular theme and led by a single instructor. This introduces freshmen to a range of subject matter, provides a sustained opportunity to really get to know a group of fellow students and work closely with an instructor. They become part of their own little academic community that typically engages in field trips as well as classroom experiences.

Our relatively small and sedate info session snapped to attention with the arrival of our tour guide, Eric, a senior whose adrenaline level matched his evident excitement about graduating a few days hence. We were joined on our tour by three younger student-guides, who made conversation and answered questions as we went. Eric, meanwhile, was intent on entertaining us, peppering the usual patter about dorms, laundry, food, clubs and campus life in general with a bounty of one-liners such as: “We have more than 900 clubs at University of Wisconsin. You can go bowling, if that’s up your alley.”

Because we had so much ground to cover, we didn’t enter many buildings, but they looked pretty great from the outside. We did take seats in a typical classroom, but mainly just to get off our feet for a few minutes. Most memorable was our stop at a lakefront terrace, resplendent with an array of metal chairs painted in bright, Skittles-esque sunburst colors, and for which University of Wisconsin is famous. When the weather is warm the pavillion hosts concerts, open mic nights and food trucks. In the winter, when the lake freezes, it is a place for ice fishing and skating, among other wintry pursuits.

Our journey continued with an ascent up Bascom Hill, the big quad on campus. The suddenly upward trajectory of the terrain was striking because our drive from Chicago to Madison had been farmland beautiful but relentlessly flat. How was it that there seemed to be exactly one hill in all of Wisconsin, and it was at the heart of the Madison campus? The answer is glacial deposits, but all that really matters is that it creates an impressive effect, topped by the majestic Bascom Hall, the school’s primary administrative building. Directly in front sits a bronze statue of one of America’s most famous sons. “Anyone want to guess who this is?” Eric teased. The answer was so obvious that no one said a word. This was a moment made for Eric.

“I had one little kid guess Steve Jobs,” he ventured, to laughter. “And someone else said George W. Bush,” he continued, now doubled over, before relenting and telling us what we already knew: The statue was of Abraham Lincoln, whose Wisconsin troops trained on-campus during the Civil War. The toe of Abe’s left shoe glistened from the shine of endless undergraduates rubbing it for good luck before exams, one of those great college traditions.

Last stop for us was the Discovery Building, home of a public-private research partnership that opened in 2010 and whose ground floor is designed as a collaborative gathering and meeting place open not only to students but the local community, as well. The space evokes a traditional town center, complete with tree-lined walkways, lush with leaves that reportedly stay green year ‘round. The building’s windows open and close automatically to equalize the temperature. Cool.

From there, we headed back to State Street, a small but bustling row of shops including the campus bookstore, and restaurants such as Forage, which was packed with students choosing from an imaginative selection of grain bowls. Then it was time to depart this great, big campus nestled in an attractive, small city and head back to Chicago, a three-hour drive away.

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Beloit Tour: Keep an Eye on this Turtle

If it weren’t directly on the path between Chicago and Madison, we might have missed Beloit College, and that would have been a shame. Truth is, we hadn’t planned to visit because it is a small school that hadn’t registered much on the radar of our students. That will change now. No college is for everyone, of course, but Beloit should at least make the considered-set of a larger number of students.

Beloit profiles as small and quiet, with only about 1,200 undergraduates. On a late Monday afternoon it was hard to find anyone at all; even the campus coffee shop had already closed by five o’clock. We were told most students were back in their residential halls for the day. At a glance, the campus appeared quiescent. A closer look, however, revealed something more bubbling beneath the surface.

Beloit’s serenity is embodied in the beauty of its park-like setting, which despite recent additions like the show-stopping LEED-certified Sanger Science Center, lays claim to a 19th-century vibe that reverberates with its little-known ivy-league pedigree. Beloit was founded in 1847 by a group of Yale alums who thought the Wisconsin territory deserved its own place of higher learning. That same seriousness of purpose defines Beloit to this day.

Because we were just dropping by unannounced, we didn’t hit an info session or tag along on a student-led tour, but did enjoy an extended sit-down with an enthusiastic admissions counselor who told us everything we didn’t already know about this well-respected but not exactly high-profile school. By the time she finished, we were sold on it as a potentially perfect place for those who may not know what they want, but know it when they see it.

The mystery is why this Yale-descended gem, co-ed since 1895, is not thought of alongside other small-but-mighty schools, many of which are located in equally, if not more, obscure locations. If nothing else, none of those other ivy-style institutions is home to a series of 20 honest-to-goodness Native-American archeological sites right on campus. Known as “animal mounds,” each honors a particular creature and dates back as far as 400 AD. One mound is shaped like a turtle, and figures into the school’s coat of arms. Building on this spirit, Beloit is a top school for PhDs in anthropology. It also overperforms as one of the top 20 undergraduate schools whose alum go on to earn PhDs.

Beloit’s other surprises include its large percentage of international students, who somehow find their way from other parts unknown to this tiny college in Wisconsin. Global truly is local at Beloit, and an indelible thread of its academic fabric. As it happens, internationalism has been integral to Beloit’s mission from its inception and not surprisingly finds further expression in healthy participation in study abroad, which attracts 46% of students, more than most other schools.

The campus also is home to two public museums: the Logan is appropriately anthropological and the other, the Wright, is for art. Both not only house impressive collections but also double as classrooms. What some other schools now like to call “experiential” learning, is nothing new at Beloit; learning by doing has been in vogue here since the 1960s. Artifacts might be used as inspiration for creative writing classes, for instance, or re-curated to bring any number of subjects to life. Student creations may also be on display in the art museum, also perhaps themed along topical interests.

So much of Beloit’s being is steeped in history, which tends to mark it as one of those stark raving liberal-arts schools. This is amply refuted not only by the aforementioned science center, but also its center for entrepreneurship, known as CELEB, where students run their own businesses, from apparel to apps. Business is taught as an art, and arts as a business at Beloit, with the goal to help students to find a path in the real world within the context of their studies.

Beloit is known to foster a particularly close relationships between students and professors, one of whom is an enterprising sort known to walk his dogs around campus to invite conversations. He happens to be a business professor who hands out his card in hopes of recruiting new students as he goes. Yet another surprise is the school’s half dozen or so academic residencies, which bring luminaries from a spectrum of disciplines to campus each year.

Possibly the biggest surprise is yet to come later this year, when Beloit opens a 120K square-foot student union, recreation and physical conditioning facility in a former electric-power generating station just across the Rock River, which runs along the main campus. Dubbed “the Powerhouse,” it will also feature a lecture hall, theater, conference center, seminar rooms and work tables. It is envisioned as “a home for mental, physical, and social wellness on campus,” and billed as the first of its kind anywhere. It looks to be amazing.

Keep an eye on this turtle, Beloit. It moves faster than it looks.

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Northwestern Tour: Warm and Windy

Given its rigorous academics and selective admissions, one would not expect life at Northwestern University to be a day at the beach. Yet its campus boasts not one, but two sandy enclaves on the shores of Lake Michigan, punctuated by the Chicago skyline in the not so very distance. As lakes go, this one could easily be mistaken for an ocean, and on the rare day in May we visited, its sparkling streaks of turquoise and azure looked positively Caribbean. Running ruthlessly countertrend, the temperature hovered around 47, it was drizzling and, yes, Chicago windy. A gaggle of lonely sailboats rested uneasily but hopefully on the shore, waiting patiently for better days.

We checked in at the soaring, dazzling, glassy visitor center, only to learn from a cheerful young woman at the desk that our info session and tour had been cancelled. Damn. Well, then, could we have a pen, at least? We collect them from all the schools. No, no pens. “Oh, wait,” she said, her eyes brightening as she handed us a generic ballpoint, sans any insignia. “Take this, it is a pen from Northwestern!” Clever and resourceful, these Northwestern students.

As consolation, we were graciously offered a conversation with a patient and super-smart admissions counselor, who started by asking if we had any questions. Hm, not where we expected to begin, but maybe it says something about Northwestern that questions take priority over answers. Resisting the temptation to litigate why our tour had been deep-sixed, we instead inquired about double majors, the journalism program, and tried to get some insight into why some students get in and others don’t.

Like many of today’s best schools, Northwestern encourages mixing and matching academic pursuits, the more ostensibly disconnected the better. If there’s a thread, it’s forging links between arts and sciences. Northwestern’s Medill school is of course renowned for journalism, although like much of Northwestern’s reputation perhaps a bit tilted toward the graduate level. The university’s post-grad accent happened to be personified our host, herself a former graduate student. As for admissions criteria, it’s a mystery, apparently even to the admissions officers. If there’s a secret, they’re not sharing it.

So, what is it, exactly, that makes Northwestern what it is? One version of that answer is the university messaging, telegraphed as “AND is in our DNA” in a YouTube video: research and teaching; academics and athletics; college town and major city. The notion is meant to extend to the students themselves who combine and recombine areas of study. Is this modern-day philosophy somehow rooted in Northwestern’s origins? That’s a good question, the answer to which requires more research, itself another of the school’s hallmarks. The more telling answer, as usual, is found in a walk around campus, and in particular the places where students gather, such as the Norris University Center, where you can get some food while enjoying spectacular views of that gorgeous lake.

We always look for diversity when we visit campuses, which at Northwestern seemed most evident in a certain artistic, bohemian, and occasionally even eccentric streak in the student population. This influence may be down to the school’s famous theatre program. Did we mention that Stephen Colbert is a Northwestern grad? Northwestern mentions Stephen Colbert almost as often as UVA mentions Thomas Jefferson. True to form, the late-night host is described as both serious and funny, living the “and” theme.

The rest of Northwestern’s soul can be contemplated in a walk around its large-scale but compact (“and”) campus, which though in suburban Evanston, and a fair distance from Chicago, feels decidedly city-like. No shortage of greenery, lots of grassy stretches and imposing trees, but also plenty of pavement. The dominant architectural style, despite a few flashes of old-fashioned goth and futuristic walls of glass, can best be described as brutalist, that blocky, cement-happy motif popular in the American ‘70s and the former Soviet Union.

That sounds harsher than it actually is, but if you need classical brick, columns, cut stone or that Hogwarts feeling, you won’t quite find it here. The effect may have been cemented by the brutally raw spring day, and that some of us were shivering in our parkas in May, but certainly is not a metaphor for what is inarguably one of today’s most all-embracing and celebrated institutions of higher learning.

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Safe Crate: HPU Student Launches Move-In Solution

Fox 8 News: “After seeing and experiencing his own painful moving days, Ryan Gilbert thought there had to be an easier way of bringing your clothes, shoes and office supplies to campus. ‘I noticed that whenever session happened, people tend to downsize and they need storage,’ Gilbert said … He got to work building a system where students can store what they need. And when they return to campus, they can simply pick up their storage unit and unload it. Gilbert went through many prototypes until he found the perfect shape. Sixty-inches tall, 54-inches long, 26-inches wide crates that can hold clothes, supplies and a dorm fridge. Plus the crate rolls. So it can easily fit onto elevators and down dorm hallways.”

“To get his business off the ground, Gilbert pitched his idea at High Point University’s Business Plan Competition. He won the $9,500 first place award. Gilbert named the company Safe Crate … Gilbert explained that Safe Crate will open this summer. High Point University students will be able to pack their dorm items into a crate and have it stored at at climate-controlled warehouse over the summer. Students will be able to pick up their secured crates when they return in the fall. Gilbert said he is making plans to expand beyond High Point University … Gilbert is also running another company. Crate Systems, which sells the storage units he created to larger storage companies.”

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‘Llamapalooza’ Helps Berkeley Students Relax

The Guardian: “On Friday, students flocked to UC Berkeley’s Memorial Glade for Llamapalooza, a human-llama social occasion on a sunny campus lawn. The eight animals were scattered throughout the crowd, munching grass while the adoring masses petted, fed and photographed them under the supervision of trained student volunteers. The semesterly event is intended to help Berkeley students relax before the tests. For many, it works. Ana Claire Mancia, a business major who graduates this year, launched Llamapalooza a year and a half ago. The Guardian was granted exclusive access to her final event as a student, as she sought to avoid the heavy press presence of previous semesters. ‘When you’re around a llama, you become very calm and at peace,’ she said.”

“Indeed, despite being surrounded by throngs of overexcited humans, the llamas themselves remained remarkably calm. Their drooping eyelashes created an impression of utter contentment as they helped themselves to large quantities of campus vegetation … Many students took pre-exam solace in the llamas’ fur, lauded as ‘quite fuzzy’ and ‘surprisingly soft’ … But interactions weren’t limited to petting. Mancia taught the Guardian what is known as a ‘llama greeting.’ The trick is to approach the animal nose-to-nose and ‘breathe the same air,’she said.”

“This easy rapport is why George Caldwell, who raises the llamas and brings them to campus, believes they are so well-suited to such visits. Thanks to a long history living among humans in South America, ‘these guys developed social skills that are just amazing,’ Caldwell says … Caldwell had been bringing the animals to Berkeley to de-stress the students for several years before Mancia launched Llamapalooza, but the event was somewhat under the radar. Llamapalooza changed that. Now, the event typically gets 5,000 RSVPs on Facebook, Mancia says, with one to two thousand students actually showing up.”

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