Principia College is situated on a pristine, beautiful campus with unique architecture and great people. But all this nature comes with a price: Principia is way out in the boonies. Some students enjoy this isolation, while others prefer to drive to more metropolitan areas like St. Louis to spice up their routines.
Those who leave often have a favorite place to go. Sophomore Savannah Switzer said she has seasonal favorites: “In the winter, I like ice skating in Alton, and in the fall, the cool festival or bowling.” Many people will go further away to get their recreation in. “What I really like to do when I’m off campus is go to the [Delmar] Loop,” sophomore Devon Carlson said. “There’s a lot of really cool cafes there. I get coffee or go to some shops for a while.” St. Louis offers a wide variety of public features, which sophomore Tessa Miller enjoys: “I generally go to Forest Park because I really love the art museum.”
Other people use their weekends to visit with family. “I go off campus on the weekends to visit my cousins in St. Louis,” senior Scott Ross said. Sophomore Molly Dixon agreed: “I’ll go home because I live in St. Louis.” Sophomore Heidi Lynch said that she and her family often spend weekends together. “We go on errands to Alton and St. Louis, usually involving a restaurant like Taco Bell or Steak ‘n Shake.”
Weekends are full of academics and sports that both take up a large amount of time, too. “My Saturdays are consumed with solar car club, and my Sundays are consumed by work and homework. And always church, of course,” freshman Gage Edgar said. Carlson said that “When I am on campus, I’m usually doing homework for hours in a row.” Ross and Dixon agree that they most frequently leave campus for athletic events, with Dixon saying “If I go off campus, it’s usually for a track meet.” Junior Sarah Litwiller said, “I definitely go off-campus most frequently for athletics.”
The Social Assistants at Principia offer several events every weekend as well. “On Saturdays, I’ll hopefully do a Prin-sponsored event because they really are fun,” Carlson said. “I also just like hanging out here, watching movies, painting my nails.” Freshman Gemma Ritchie also enjoys the activities on campus. “My weekends are filled with church, work and going to the Pub with friends. I’ll go to campus events if they look good,” she said.
Others are more ambivalent. “I’m fine with the social events here. I like them for the most part, and I go to probably half of them,” Ross said. A sophomore who wished to remain anonymous tends to be choosier about what she attends. “I don’t really like dances, and that’s usually what most of them are like. Usually, I like weekends to be more relaxing, and so it depends what the social event is. I usually stop by, but don’t stay,” she said.
So what is better: going off campus or staying at Principia? Both have pros and cons. Senior Wylie Mangelsdorf likes Principia events, but said “it is kind of a secluded campus, and so if nothing’s going on, it’s nice to get out and do activities like the zoo or food.” Carlson agreed that she likes to get out and about in her free time. However, she said “it costs a lot of money any time I want to go off campus, for gas or food or anything. So I have to avoid doing that too often.” Miller said that “I don’t really prefer either one. I’m fine chilling here or going out.”
One thing that Principia wins by a mile, though, is friends. “I think I prefer being on campus because I like hanging out with my school family,” Switzer said.