The College Trip                                                          by Patti Brugman

        I recently returned from a college trip in Oregon and cannot stress how important it is to see before you buy.  The colleges I set out to see were: Oregon State University, Lewis and Clark, and Reed College.  How different these three are! 

         OSU is a state school whose motto is “Powered by Orange.” It’s a great place to learn forestry or engineering and to go to the “game.” I talked to one student who thought he was quite rebellious for choosing to be an English major at OSU rather than transferring to The University of Oregon in Eugene where the major is more the norm.  Then he confessed that he was actually a double major in ECE, electrical computer engineering.  

         At OSU, the MU is the center of campus.  The Memorial Union is a gorgeous old brick building with a hall of international flags, many restaurants, the bookstore, a ballroom, and a bowling alley.  All over campus, old architecture blends with the new.  Students love showing off the Kelly Engineering building and the mobiles are designed to circulate the rising hot air to colder parts of the building.  It is truly inspirational.

         I visited Lewis and Clark in Portland on a Sunday and saw the Frank Manor House, a magnificent centerpiece on campus with a spectacular tiered garden in the vista beyond.  This campus is amazing for its trees, architecture, technology and emphasis on nature.  The students were friendly and the place teeming with events even on the weekend.  I’m so glad I came!

         Lastly, I visited Reed College, also in Portland.  I stopped in here on Monday and found that the tudor/gothic architecture of many buildings suits the hard-working, free-thinking students.  Students approached me as I wandered, always asking if I would like directions or if I had any questions.  I was quite impressed with their friendliness, with the architecture, and the feel of the campus.  Reed would be an exciting place to learn science and humanities. 

         This trip offered me an invaluable lesson.  I felt the spirit of the big state school at OSU, the charm of the clearing in a forest at Lewis and Clark, and fine power of a motivated student body at Reed.  We recommend that you see colleges, big and small, public and private and get the feel.  Is it about school spirit or intimate learning?  Only you can decide.-- PB