Though California, Hawaii and other coastal states boast collegiate settings in typical vacation spots, Eckerd College on the beautiful Gulf Coast stands above the rest, according to About.com.
About.com ranked Eckerd the number one college for beach lovers in the United States. Many of the other 13 listed top beach colleges sat in locations surrounded by beaches, but Eckerd is one of the few with its very own.
When asked about Eckerd’s ranking, Junior Stephen Langford wasn’t surprised. “I could definitely believe it. I probably haven’t even seen many of them [other beach colleges] but this one has done quite well by me so far,” said Langford. “There’s nothing better than being out at the beach with friends after a long week or even a day of classes.”
I don’t know how the majority of the student body feels about South Beach, but I gather it is the final selling point that allured current students.
I have heard critiques of the beach from both an aesthetic perspective and an environmental standpoint. The sea wall both inhibits natural erosion and therefore sea life movement, but it is the only thing keeping the campus dry.
My winter term class, Literature and the Beach, taught by Daniel Spoth, addressed the beach’s appeal but also the contradictory nature of manipulating the beach so people can visit. Idealized by popular culture, the beach has always been a place of serene escape and perfection, or at least perceived to be as such.
I grew up in Clearwater, about 30 minutes north of St. Petersburg. I would like to think that growing up by the beach would tire me of this so-called paradise, but it hasn’t. That’s why I chose to attend Eckerd and why I am not shocked that we are the number one beach lover’s college.
Junior Jeanine O’Connell also grew up in Clearwater and has the same attraction to Eckerd’s campus as I do. “Being a local has spoiled me when it comes to beaches, but Eckerd’s beach is great,” said O’Connell.
“I think Eckerd is a perfect fit for someone who loves the beach. Its soft white sand accompanied by the water and sunshine allow students to go from studying in the library to lounging in a hammock in a matter of steps. The perfect beach day is just yards away from your dorm room,” she said.
Growing up near the coast not only breeds a certain attitude of a person, but it also attracts like-minded characters to its coastal shores.
The student body at Eckerd mirrors the relaxed nature that comes with the beach life. Weather permitting, I don’t think Eckerd’s beach or its ranking as the top college for beach lovers is going anywhere.