Letter from the Editor: The Dickinson Drift

Matthew Korb ’14, Editor-in-Chief

One of the few idle pleasures I, as a senior, have is sitting out on my house’s porch after a long day of classes.

I live on Louther Street, down by the Goodyear apartments. And, because my porch opens out onto the main street and sidewalk, every weekend night my roommates and I are given the rare pleasure – and sometimes pain – of watching Dickinson students and Carlisle residents stumble back and forth between their parties.

This past weekend, while my roommates and I were all sitting on the porch, a friend of ours showed up. He stopped for a while to talk and, since he had been away from campus for a semester studying abroad, we fell into talking about him re-adjusting to the campus.
“It may be me,” he said, leaning against our railing. “But doesn’t the campus feel smaller now?”

I hadn’t really noticed anything and I said as much, though I also admitted I wasn’t really paying much attention.

“It does. To me, at least. I don’t know; it just feels like fringe places like this…” He paused to wave around the street and at the houses, half of which are owned by Carlisle residents and the other half by Seniors. “Are closer to the community. Like this isn’t the wilderness anymore.”

I really didn’t pay what he said much mind. The rest of the weekend passed uneventfully and, on Tuesday, I woke up early for my morning newspaper meeting with the college’s administrators.

“I feel strongly that we should bring seniors back into the campus,” explained President Nancy Roseman during our meeting. “It’s robbing them and the under classmen of the full college experience by not having an integrated college community.”

I jotted the quote down into my pad of paper (along with everything else said) and continued on with another question. But what she said stuck in my mind and, when it came time for me to write my letter, I dug both quotes out.

Dickinson, like other colleges I am sure, is a school with an order to things. In the beginning, as first years, students are lumped together in dorms, which are in turn joined together into quads. It is a small, close-knit community where people can meet freely and easily.

As students progress through the years, however, they tend to drift apart. Classes become spread across multiple quads, then across multiple campuses. By the end of four years the Senior Class is now spread across the fringe of the college and, many times, into the town of Carlisle.

I am not saying that we need to change the housing system. Housing right now is good. I, as a Senior, am able to live in an apartment that is far and above what I had to crawl into on my first year. What I am saying is that what our new president said and what my friend observed is true: We need to stall this drifting, to either keep members of the Senior class as close to the community as the first year class is or to make the Senior’s fringe community of the campus more open to other classes.

A college community isn’t made up of fractured little cliques. A college community is a single body of students, united by a mascot and a common disdain of reading for classes.