There are many things to love about Gettysburg College—some of which are abundantly tangible and others that are cherished treasures found only by the curious who seek them out.
As a graduating senior, I have come to appreciate the vast value of the academic experience, which has made my undergraduate education here more worthwhile and memorable every day. The campus truly has so much to offer, and it becomes whatever you can imagine it to be.
However, as I reflect on my four years here, the moments that stick with me the most are the often-overlooked details that to me mean so much. My favorite memories of Gettysburg College consist of the intimate perspective of the smaller details of the campus, all delicately balanced with its liveliness.
Below, read about the five best things I’ve discovered at Gettysburg College through the lenses of sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch.
1. Sight: Beauty from a bird’s eye—or squirrel’s eye—view
If you brave the heights of the Oak Ridge Observation Tower on the Gettysburg battlefield, you can see the most gorgeous view not only of the historic lands and town, but you can also pinpoint the campus from above. Even from this bird’s eye view, the red bricks of Glatfelter Hall stand out with the bell tower rising above the rest of the campus.
On the ground, the beauty of wildlife and nature are close at hand too, whether you are walking along the campus pathways that connect the residence halls and academic buildings or looking out of the windows of the library as the sun is setting. I particularly adore the abundance of squirrels nibbling acorns in the grass and the numerous trees on campus that turn vibrant shades of orange and red in the fall. If you look for it, there’s truly beauty around every corner.
2. Sound: Energizing ambiances of campus
The steady chime of Glatfelter Hall’s bell every hour can be heard roughly anywhere on campus, no matter how far away from the bell you are. I find the bell to be the beating heart of the campus. Regardless of where I am, hearing the bell faintly in the distance makes me feel connected, as I know other members of the College community can hear the bell too.
When I walk past Schmucker Hall, I also love hearing the sounds of Sunderman Conservatory of Music students practicing their instruments—sounds of string, brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments passionately seep through the walls of the building, caressing the ears of passersby.
Then, when I pause for a quick meal at Servo, the soft clanking of dishes and conversations between students fill me with a sense of community. It’s these sounds and many more that make me feel deeply connected to the campus.
3. Smell: Refreshing, crisp seasonal scents
The scent of fresh air that is different from my crowded suburban hometown of Easton, Pennsylvania, is another beloved detail of attending a college in a rural area. The air on crisp autumn mornings is especially invigorating and wakes up the senses on the way to class. In the spring, when the weather warms up, the smell of freshly cut grass is a distinct and favored one to me; and as the grass is always kept in a pristine manor—perfect for studying outside—I get to smell it quite often when walking about the campus.
In many ways, these seasonal scents, to me, smell like opportunity. All around campus, the rolling historic lands are an invitation to explore the great outdoors. And, I often do.
4. Taste: Food that feeds the body and soul
There is nothing better than a warm and gooey chocolate chip cookie from Servo, except the snickerdoodle cookies which are my favorite. However, the chocolate chip ones have won the hearts of many Gettysburgians, as decided by a “Servo Cookie Showdown” in a recent poll on the College’s Instagram. Freshly baked cookies from the dining hall have built a bond between students and the famously delicious dessert.
Overall, grabbing meals with friends, whether it’s at Servo or the Bullet Hole, is one of my favorite parts of the day. Our award-winning dining services create special moments together, where we get to fuel our bodies with nourishing and tasty food and feed our souls with laughter and good conversation. Here on campus, food breathes life into the community, feeding both our hearts and minds.
5. Touch: The comforting and grounding campus community
I enjoy lounging in the many Adirondack chairs on campus, feeling the smooth wood beneath me, and the sun warming my skin on a nice day. It’s a quiet moment, yet I feel deeply in tune with the campus around me. It is bustling with life at every turn, and even when I seek out the quiet moments, I can spot my peers pursuing joyful moments, whether it be the small, quiet moments or the large, lively ones.
Through the ebb and flow of shared activities and solitude, I can sense the strong connection of the campus community in everything I do, which makes Gettysburg College feel like home.
By Ericka Gardner '22
Photos by Shawna Sherrell, Miranda Harple, Mary Beth Bielicki '18, and courtesy of Ericka Gardner '22