Friday, August 31, 2007
Tales of Camp Trin-trin
Hartford isn't Boston, New York, Athens, Northampton, New Haven, Providence, Philadelphia or San Francisco, or isn't that obvious?
So what, actually, is the point of this Advocate article?
The fact that students don't venture far off campus at Trinity? Nothing new, and probably not that unusual. I live in Middletown, and Main Street isn't crawling with Wesleyan students. Our intern this summer from Southern Illinois University couldn't tell me anything about Carbondale. Ask most of the kids at Williams, Amherst, Fairfield, or Willimantic what they know about the town where their school is located. At a lot of small schools in big and small towns, the campus is isolated, and a bubble for student life.
My business is a block from Trinity, and I've taught course there for the last five years. Here's what I can tell you from my observations:
- Some students are oblivious to anything but there own courses, parties, and their IM's and iPods (I've had students declaring a film minor who have spent three years at Trinity and never been to a film at Cinestudio!)
- Some students are brilliant, creative and fully engaged in the world (some of my past students created the International Hip-Hop Festival at Trinity, while fully involved seniors, have just finished editing a documentary on the most recent presidential election in Venezuela, have sent online dispatches from elections in Senegal, and from pre-election activities in the Muslim ghettoes of Paris)
- Some students wish they were somewhere else (Brown, Wesleyan, Yale, Columbia), and some are amazed to be at Trinity
- Most students know where to buy and drink beer, where the mall is, where West Hartford Center is, the restaurants that will deliver pizza, and where to buy drugs
- Trinity has great urban/campus initiatives which engage many students, like The Hartford Studies Program, and the Arthur Vining Davis Summer Institute of Urban and Global Studies
- Most students are correct in the assumption that Hartford doesn't offer much to engage the attention of students at any time of day or night (there is no strip of student bars, restaurants, clubs, stores)
- Some of the streets around the campus are, indeed, scary - but students aren't the only ones who avoid them. Where are the white, middle-and-monied class found on these streets? The answer, of course, is that they are no
- Some of the student housing (apartments) and frats are the worst, dirtiest, noisiest, disgusting buildings on a given block