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The Secrets of Scripps

February 7, 2009

by Rachel Selvin
The Secrets of Scripps

Editor's Note: Rachel is another new Forum Fellow. A transfer from Scripps, she now presents to you the secrets of her campus.

A campus encircled by classic California architecture and hemmed in verdant gardens, Scripps College's sumptuous appearance entices visitors and students alike. Burgeoning with ripe grapefruits and oranges for the picking, a brand new field house and dorms that provide students with "fully-stocked kitchens" (although some dispute the validity of this claim, most at least have a fridge and an oven), Scripps seems to bustle with hidden perks.  Arguably the most attractive of the 5C's, the college rises from its well-watered grounds as a melodic garden of white stucco, latticed windows, and green doors—Scripps Green doors. Yet, like every college campus, like every establishment frequented by the clever and the curious, it too guards its own unique set of secrets. From charming initiation ceremonies to quiet nooks and secret flower beds, Scripps coaxes adventurous students to leave the safety and comfort of their dorms to pursue the luxuries that set apart the 5C's only women's college.

Perhaps the most decadent of the school's services, Scripps Tea—hosted every Wednesday from 4:00-4:30 in Seal Court—treats students from all 5 colleges to a delicious snack, a study break, an a little culture. Cakes, cookies, tarts, scones, veggie trays and hot beverages make this event a weekly favorite for many. Yet Tea is often more than a simple excuse to work on the Freshman 15; most are sponsored by an on-campus organization, using the gathering's popularity to ignite interest in a plethora of clubs or activities. A personal favorite from 2008 was the Mariachi band's serenade of Tea goers as onlookers enjoyed hot chocolate and delectable pastries.

Of course, if one drops by Seal Court for Tea or simply a frolic in its resplendent beauty, the Motley is a must-see. An all student run business, the Motley keeps Scrippsies and most 5C-ers going with its unyielding and generous supply of caffeine. The vegan cookies are an especial favorite, catering to all food-lovers, regardless of their dietary restrictions. As an all-woman run operation, the Motley exemplifies Scripps' intrinsic promise to social consciousness, as it sells products produced by environmentally friendly companies and hosts meetings, forums and discussion boards that aim to raise campus-wide awareness for the issues that face the college.  Besides its obvious importance as the campus's coffee haven, the Motley also serves as a preferred study-spot and a place for students and professors to mix and mingle. Many find its relaxing music, comfy velvet couches and friendly staff—an ideal compromise between the distractions of the dorm room and the eerie silence of the library—as the cure for procrastination.          


Yet the college is not simply a culinary paradise for sleep-deprived and bedraggled students; Scripps plays host to a number of cloistered gardens and subtle luxuries that set it apart from the other campuses. Every dorm is outfitted with a private Browsing Room where students can escape the raucous of dorm life for a quiet, secluded study session. Likewise, common rooms are graced by pianos for students' enjoyment—playing used to be required by the school—a stipulation that has since been repealed, although many still take advantage of the instruments' availability. Denison library remains a little-known resource of the college, providing the secluded peace of a library with stain-glass windows, chandeliers and secret study rooms on its ground floors. It also plays host the school's Rare Books Collection--an enviable asset that contains first editions and original letters, although only available by appointment. The landmark also plays host to a small patio canopied by blossoming vines, yet it is hardly Scripps' only hidden garden; Apparently Browning conceals one that some Scripps students admit they've never found.  Malott too has a "secret garden" pointing towards Honnold-Mudd library where students can bask in mild weather while enjoying a meal—just remember to return your cutlery to the tray drop-off!

Apart from the obvious beauty of the Margret Fowler rose garden (and the various other sequestered plots), Scripps maintains endearing traditions that build community and break up the melancholy hours of studying. Perhaps the most charming, Candlelight Dinners are special occasions for students to share an elegant meal while marking a holiday—Halloween is particularly popular.

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