Talk about a warm welcome! As we pulled up to the campus of Albright College in Reading, Pennsylvania, a brand new $60 million center for business and civic leadership greeted our bus. (Smiling admissions counselors and a delightful continental breakfast greeted us once we were inside – a double welcome!)
Growth was certainly a theme for our time on Albright’s campus, beginning with the new building (which was completed both on time and on budget!) and extending to the plans to renovate the library and to turn one of the current residence halls into a community arts space.
(One thing that won’t change, however, is the campus “pond” – formally known as Sylvan Pond – which has recently had a facelift to make it more accessible and to give it better lighting in the evening hours. Accessibility and lighting are crucial to the primary function of Sylvan Pond, as it is an Albright tradition to “pond” students on their birthdays each year; that is, the birthday boy or girl is lifted up by a host of friends and tossed ceremoniously into its depths. Students have even been removed from their classes in the spirit of honoring this tradition and faculty are apparently very understanding.)
Growth is also apparent in the academic programs offered by the college, which is home to 1,750 undergraduate students. A traditional liberal arts college with a wide variety of majors ranging from the STEM fields to the arts (arts administration is a popular major on campus) and into business fields, Albright is also situated ideally in order for students to have wonderful real-world experiences at their fingertips. Business students, for example, are fortunate to take field trips to visit famous manufacturing and food production companies like Martin Guitars, Yeungling brewery, Harley Davidson, and Herrs potato chips where they can see how a product develops from raw materials into its finished iteration.
Regardless of their major, however, each and every Albright student is eligible to pair with alumni of the college for some valuable mentorship or to take part in the Albright Creative Research Experience (ACRE) to pursue undergraduate research or a creative project in his or her chosen area of interest. (As the majority of Albright students will double major or cross major during their four years, those areas of interest can be extremely diverse.) Funding is available for these endeavors, including stipends for students who wish to stay at school over the summer to compete their projects.
Theatre and the arts in general are very popular on campus and musicians should take note of their music publishing and distribution club opportunity. (An annual concert is also noteworthy for the big name groups it brings; in the spring of 2014, the Plain White T’s and Parachute performed.) Perhaps this explains the lack of an equestrian team at the college (sorry, riders!) – though the surrounding area in Reading and York provides a wealth of equestrian centers and farms that can fulfill students’ needs and its proximity to Harrisburg means that the Pennsylvania National Horse Show is but a stone’s throw away.