August 1, 2014

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Party School or Pretty School?

Here goes Todd, talking about his alma mater again.

My dad for years has told me the story on how he decided to go to college at Ohio University.

As a high school senior, he looked at various schools...mostly across Ohio, where he was from...and visited their campuses.  Without elaborating on what those campuses looked like, when he visited Athens and took one look at the university setting, he commented to himself, "this is where I want to go to college".

Which leads to the latest college rankings in the Princeton Review...and not just the category the media always report on.

Ohio University ranked in the top 20 in several categories...including most beautiful campus, best student newspaper, best athletic facilities and major fraternity and sorority scene.

Those, of course, aren't the ones which led the stories the press ran this week, although, if anyone looked closely, they were mentioned later in the media stories.  The one which caught everyone's attention was that, for the first time in the survey's history, O.U. was named the "number one party school" in the U.S.

The Associated Press story on the subject made reference to the annual Halloween "block party", stating that O.U. is "set in an Appalachian town known for its rowdy Halloween bashes" (it later correctly points out that the Halloween bash...no pun intended...is sanctioned not by the university, but the city of Athens).

A reference is also made about the Halloween event in 2003, which was one of the most violent in the history of the celebration.  I was in Athens the day after that event (I have NEVER attended the event itself), and got caught in a traffic jam on a major highway of people leaving town, who obviously weren't from Athens but who, I suspect, were at the festivities the night before.  (Considering their direction of travel, I wondered if some of them weren't from another university which also calls itself "Ohio".) So blaming the students for the problems with Halloween...which, by the way, have quieted down in recent years...is a bit of a stretch.

Ohio University is outside WTAP's signal area, which I know is strange, considering Athens is just 40 miles from Parkersburg, but a follow-up story by the AP might be to ask O.U. students themselves why they decided to go to college there.  I would not be surprised if some of their responses were similar to my dad's first thought more than 60 years ago.

Beauty, after all, is in the eye of the beholder.

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