Guilford College ‘hot’ for social conscience
Two area colleges graced the 2006 edition of Kaplan/Newsweek’s 2006 America’s Hottest Colleges guide, one of the publications used by jittery high school seniors and their parents to decide where to spend their first years away from home.
The guide, which hit newsstands Aug. 22, sets out 25 ‘hot’ categories for colleges around the country, from ‘“hottest for rejecting you’” (Harvard) to ‘“hottest for cold weather’” (University of Vermont at Burlington). ‘“There are no equations for assessing the magic that makes a school sparkle,’” the guide’s authors write. ‘“Each reflects a place that is preparing students well for a complex world.’”
Guilford College, the Greensboro higher learning institution founded by Quakers in 1837, won Kaplan and Newsweek’s nod for ‘“hottest for social conscience.’”
According to the guide, Guilford College is the fastest growing four-year program in North Carolina and a laudable example of an academic institution supporting community service programs. But it’s the school’s maverick sensibility that really puts it on the map, the guide suggests.
‘“Instead of going on a road trip for a weekend football game, Guilford students are more likely to organize caravans to DC or New York for a major protest,’” the authors write. Guilford College’s entry notes that the Quaker college’s defiant reputation goes back to antebellum days when it was a stop on the Underground Railroad, and continued through World War II when the college welcomed Japanese-American students at a time when they were otherwise being rounded up and placed in internment camps.
The guide cites Nathaniel Heatwole as an example of how the college’s tradition of civil disobedience carries into the present. The student was arrested in 2003 for carrying box cutters and fake explosives onto an airplane to highlight security problems.
Campus ministry coordinator Max Carter said students’ activism traces back to the interlinking Quaker testimonies of simplicity and peace.
‘“We ask: ‘Is my desire for that big SUV fueling our need for war, literally? Is that cheap cup of coffee feeding global economic inequality? Is that item of clothing sewing economic exploitation?”” he said. ‘“You need to look at how to bring everyone to the banquet table. How can you share more equitably the resources of the world? This is where our students get it.’”
Guilford College also claimed bragging rights for campus radio station WQFS’ No. 6 ranking in the Princeton Review’s 2006 edition of The Best 361 Colleges. The Princeton Review, a test preparation company based in New York, regularly ranks WQFS in its top ten, according to a news release by the college.
Elon College in neighboring Alamance County also made Kaplan and Newsweek’s elite circle of 25 with a credit for ‘“hottest for student engagement.’”
‘“Courses meet four hours a week, rather than the usual three, with the extra time devoted to putting theory into practice,’” the guide states. As an example, business students are responsible for investing a portion of the university’s endowment and engineering students make canoes.
Other colleges in the Southeast that topped ‘hot’ categories included the Citadel in Charleston, SC (‘“hottest military school’”), Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia (‘“hottest for the study of art’”) and Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn. (‘hottest historically black college’).
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