Southern hospitality was in full force when our weary group of counselors pulled onto the campus of Virginia Wesleyan College on what was to be our third campus visit in a single day. (A disclaimer to students and parents: We are professionals when it comes to touring campuses; do not attempt this feat when scheduling your own campus tours.)
Still, whether we were tired or not, the warmth and kindness of the Virginia Wesleyan staff and students was exactly what we needed to revise us and we were excited to learn about this unique and special place.
What makes it special?
How about a 46 foot boat that can take students out on the water in the nearby and ecologically fascinating Tidewater area of Virginia and allow them to put their classroom training to practical use in a real world setting?
How about a small student body of around 1,400 students (undergraduate only) who form a tight-knit community from the moment they arrive at orientation? It’s during this time that they paint their names, messages, and sometimes even place their handprints onto one of several Adirondack chairs that will be placed all over campus for their classmates from all years to sit in and enjoy throughout the school year?
How about an annual air band competition that is hotly contested by various student groups?
Or how about a student center that is truly student-focused because it houses the fitness facilities (including several racquetball courts, weight and cardio machines, and a climbing wall), the bookstore, an on-campus eatery, the career services office, the counseling center, the varsity basketball court, and the dean of students office – all under one roof?!
What’s more, the students of Virginia Wesleyan are currently involved in the anti-bullying project that’s recently arrived in the U.S. from the U.K. – the one that encourages everyone to leave encouraging and uplifting messages on Post It notes in random areas all over campus. It was truly heartening to see.
Does Virginia Wesleyan boast an equestrian team amongst its myriad of outdoor offerings? Unfortunately, the answer to that question is no. But with its location in the heart of rural Virginia and the open, welcoming attitude of students, staff, and faculty alike, if it’s the right school for you, I’ve no doubt they would embrace the idea with open arms in the very same way they welcomed us.