How the town of Gettysburg feels like home

First-Year Walk with the Class of 2022 through the town of Gettysburg in August 2018.

So, you’re all settled into college and just finished your first week of classes. You’re feeling good about your routine on campus, but are starting to wonder, “What is there to do here in Gettysburg?”

While “What is there to do?” might be a seemingly simple question, getting a sense of the local community and what it has to offer—either from an academic or recreational perspective—is an important aspect to consider when looking at a college. Even though Gettysburg College has more than 120 clubs and organizations, regular intramural sports games, fitness classes, and dozens of events every week, you will inevitably begin to wander off campus and into town.

People gathered around a stage at Salsa on the Square
Salsa on the Square 2019

Supporting community: Events that bring town and campus together

At Gettysburg, you will quickly notice a closeness between the college community and Gettysburg’s residents. Considering the town of Gettysburg was founded only 46 years prior to the College in 1832—the Borough was incorporated in 1806—the two grew to support one another.

Students have many opportunities to engage with the town of Gettysburg, including the College’s annual Salsa on the Square, which brings the college community and local residents together to celebrate the success of Project-Gettysburg León. There’s also the seasonal Adams County Farmer’s Market located just next to campus, where you can buy artisanal goods from local vendors.

A person walking on the Gettysburg Battlefield
Mike McHenry ’21 walks the battlefield near campus.

Getting out: Beautiful sights and tons of shops

Gettysburg has plenty of battlefield trails to walk or bike, and the incredible sunsets in Gettysburg make walking across campus such a beautiful event.

Since more than a million tourists visit the Gettysburg National Military Park yearly, we get to benefit from all the local restaurants, shops, and coffee houses, that typically cater to tourists.

In fact, a classic question you’ll hear Gettysburg students asking each other is, “What’s your go-to coffee shop?” or, “Which ice cream place is your favorite?” Fortunately, you will have plenty of opportunities during your four years here to make up your mind.

The water fountain on campus
Homecoming Weekend 2018.

A place like home: Living in town

Another unique aspect about Gettysburg is the large number of professors and staff members that live within walking distance of the campus. This, to me, became a positive reflection of the Gettysburg community, since so many professors choose to settle down and raise their families in town.

The community of Gettysburgians surrounding our campus—from members of the town who participate in Concert Choir at the Sunderman Conservatory to a local retiree who reads the newspaper on the first floor of Musselman Library—are as much a part of our college community as those of us who go here.

For those of you attending Gettysburg College this fall, be sure to seek out opportunities to engage with the local community. These interactions might spark a conversation, support a local business, or allow you to experience the world just beyond campus.

I will leave you with this piece of advice: Your experiences during these next four years will inevitably be shaped by the surrounding community, so knowing about the college town is just as important as knowing what your school has to offer you.

By Logan Grubb ’21
Photos by Shawna Sherrell, Peter Francis, Miranda Harple, and Doug Huber
Posted: 03/25/21