Thursday, February 13, 2014


St. Petersburg, FL

Mascot: Tritons

School moto is fitting- THINK OUTSIDE

My visit at Eckerd College is best encapsulated as a collection of amazing moments. I was fortunate to spend four hours on campus, and during that period I found myself surprised, amazed, and impressed in many different ways. Among the highlights...

Taking a rest break on a hammock on Eckerd's very own "South Beach."  There were a lot of amazing experiences that I had in college.  I never got to hang out on my very own campus beach.

The very first tour of a campus I have ever taken on a bike.  I've been on HUNDREDS of college tours. This was the most unique and playful college tour I've been on.  For those colleges out there, wanting to make an immediate impression on the people who are blurry-eyed from tour after tour after tour...don't spend so much time quoting the same boring statistics and walking backwards...actually make your tour memorable.

One of the neatest things about the whole bike thing, was that it wasn't just a game.  Eckerd has invested on making the campus an enjoyable place to take a yellow beach cruiser for a ride.  The yellow bike guy is present to give yellow bikes to any student in need of a trip around campus on a yellow bike.  Authentic enjoyment of the surroundings, and the outdoors was abound on this campus.

The campus has its own thrift store!  Allison was manning the store when we arrived.  She is class of 2016, and is from Redbank, NJ.  It wasn't just that there was a thrift store on campus, run by students.  I was that the thrift store proceeds go to a farm in Puerto Rico where many Eckerd students volunteer each year.  

Seeing students happily engaged in a responsible manner to reduce waste, that has a positive net impact on the lives of others, is the sort of sustainability that I get most excited about.  Students want to go to thrift stores to get inexpensive items they like.  Doing that in a systematic way that benefits the campus, and a farm in a foreign land that provides a close, but off campus experience studying abroad, made me super happy.

It was amazing to watch students take the school kayaks and paddle boards out for a lunchtime paddle. The phrase "lunchtime-paddle" is a phrase that I wish everyone had access to on a daily basis.



The dorms were another amazing highlight.  Waterfront property is a dream for me as an adult.  I cannot imagine having it available to me on a daily basis as a student.

An incredible moment was standing on the balcony and seeing a dolphin leaping out of the water, only a few yards away. 

It was also nice to see campus sustainability done in a way that felt honest and authentic.  Composting bins were available everywhere, and are used in enriching the soils for the on campus gardens.

 There was also a solar collector on campus.  For a campus that receives so much sun, it was nice to see campus facilities devoting to making practical use of this renewable resource. 

It was also nice to see a campus that embraced any and all forms of engaging the outdoors.  In so many places, Skateboarding is seen as a campus plague. Eckerd proactively attempts to harness the students on campus as a resource, to create a healthy skateboarding culture, respectful of facilities but exciting about riding. 
It was also fun to learn about Eckerd's "autumn term"  For three weeks in the freshman fall, they engage new students in an orientation program.  This kind of long term intensive commitment to ensuring the best possible transition to a new environment, is the kind of Residential Life experience that I personally believe has dramatic effects upon long term retention and success of students.  

Even the signage at Eckerd made me smile.  This reference to Hubbard made me miss the girls back home in Hubbard Dorm (where I am a dorm head, and where I'll be in only three days time)

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