Whenever I tell someone from home that I go to Denison, a lot of people say, “Oh that's in that Colleges that Change Lives book, right?” Well, yes it is. Like many of you and your parents, my mom found this book during my college search and made me research just about every school in there.
I really like this book's entry about Denison because it seems to capture something that most other books, college websites, and rankings cannot. Author Loren Pope seems to encapsulate the essence of Denison. He puts into words what I feel only those who have attended Denison can truly understand. Denison is a college that changes your life. It certainly has changed mine.
I wasn't really sure what type of school I wanted when I began the college selection process. I was somewhat naive in high school; I knew nothing about how the type of college you pick completely dictates the type of learning you will experience and the type of community you will become a part of.
When I visited Denison, I knew I had finally found the type of school that fits me. The constant debate on the merits of small versus large schools seems tired, but it is very important. For me, learning the difference helped me better understand myself. I learned that I wanted a small school. I wanted to know my professors. I wanted to feel connected with my school. I wanted a tightly knit community.
At Denison, not only do your professors know your name, they know where you're from; they know your major; and often they make time to get to know who you really are. I have gone in to see professors for routine meetings and spent a whole hour just talking about our personal lives. The professors at Denison care. There is no disconnect, they have their research and their own lofty academic pursuits, but it never seems to keep them from being human. Connecting with my professors has been one of the most important aspects of my time so far at Denison.
Another part of life here at Denison that is close to my heart is how strong and connected we are as a community. With only about 2,200 students, it's easy to understand how everyone can get involved. But that doesn't speak to the depth of our community.
I am involved in many organizations myself, including Big Brothers Big Sisters, Greek life, and the women's rugby team, but I don't just attend events I am directly involved in. Whether I know someone there or not, all organizations invite you to their events with open arms.
I have been to philanthropy events held by the multicultural sororities, attended senior research presentations, been to concerts and seen guest speakers, watched the a cappella groups perform on the East Quad steps many times, and been to amazing celebrations like Denison's annual D Day, Doobie Palooza, and my favorite, Aestavalia, where I held a kangaroo once. No matter what time of year, there is something going on that draws our campus closer.
Another part of Denison that is always exciting is, as we see him, our own campus celebrity, our president, Adam Weinberg. I have never heard of a school with a more present president. At many schools, it often seems like the president represents the bureaucracy of the school, they are only there to look good to donors and the board, and rarely interact with students. This could not be further from the truth where Dr. Weinberg is concerned. He seems to be everywhere. I constantly get Snapchats from friends with pictures of him all around campus captioned, “spotted: Weinberg.”
He was a huge selling point for my parents, they heard him speak at Swasey Chapel on campus and could not stop raving afterward about how passionate he was about the school. He also mentioned that he was headed to the Women's rugby game after his talk, which was where my parents where headed as well, to see me play, so that definitely helped grow their fondness. I feel like everyone here has a Dr. Weinberg story. He is so happy and open to talking to all of us. He just seems to want to hear about how we are doing.
As my fellow student, Griffin Baer's photos can attest, the campus is beautiful. We experience all four seasons here in Granville, Ohio. Watching the leaves change is spectacular, and when it starts to snow, you can always find someone hurling snow or building a snowman.
Spring seems to explode into the world on our campus, the daffodils and trees blooming seemingly overnight. Towards the end of April it does get pretty hot, and I can say that this past week alone I have had class outside once and lounged with my friends and done homework outdoors almost every day. No matter what the season though, the famous Denison deer are an ever-present fixture.
I have made incredible friendships here on the hill. Our closely knit community is stronger still because we are 100 percent residential. All four years we live together, all my friends are within a walking distance. Whether I am just crossing the hall to visit one of my friends, or walking to the senior apartments so that they can cook me up a full waffle breakfast, I am surrounding by wonderful people who all call Denison home.
I love this school desperately. Denison has given me so many incredible opportunities. I am going abroad next semester to study journalism in Morocco, and cannot be more excited. I will be sad to leave the Hill, but I know that when I return it will be there waiting for me, just the same campus that changed my life.
Margot Austin '18, a cinema and a communication major from Arlington Va., writes for Odyssey, a website where students share what life is really like on their respective campuses. Here's what she says about Denison. This piece was published previously on Odyssey.
Photos by Griffin Baer '18.