Why do so many Ursinus College Students Marry each other? (Thoughts from a soon-to-be married, ex-Ursinus student)

Ursinus college snow sign

Ursinus College has somewhat of a funny reputation. Where other schools are famous for their parties, their high graduation rates, or the percentage of students who get jobs in their field after graduation, Ursinus College is famous for… well… students getting married. To each other.

I’m not joking. We’re actually known for our marriage rates – but no one seems to know why. As a recent Ursinus College graduate (I graduated last week!) and a bride-to-be (less than two weeks until my wedding) – I had some ideas as to why so many Ursinus students marry each other.

And I feel like I’m allowed to talk on the matter because I am an Ursinus student marrying another Ursinus student. I’m literally just another statistic.

On the steps of Bomberger on Ursinus campus

On the steps of Bomberger on Ursinus campus

1. It is a self-fulfilling prophesy

First things first, Ursinus College students marry other Ursinus College students because everyone seems to expect them to marry other Ursinus College students. Or something like that.

From the moment you step on campus – even as early as your first campus tour – students are told that a surprising number of students on campus marry each other after graduation. No one seems to know why.

“It’s something in the water,” joked my professor in class one day. “There has to be something in the water…”

But perhaps it is something deeper. What if students who are teetering between two schools decide to pick Ursinus College over, say, Haverford precisely because so many Ursinus students marry each other? I’m not saying this is a conscious decision – it’s probably an unconscious preference toward Ursinus.

Take me, for example. I certainly didn’t want to get married straight out of college… but I wasn’t opposed to meeting the love of my life in college and then traveling the world with him, seeing sights and making babies. I didn’t go to Ursinus because I wanted to get married – but I subconsciously thought that if so many Ursinus students married each other, there has got to be  great network for meeting soulmates at this college. And by the time I was 18, I had kissed a sum total of one person (my one-month boyfriend back in 9th grade). How cool would it be to meet “the one” in college?

Couple amwf white woman asian man interracial dating marriage japanese men

And, well, that’s exactly what happened.

This is my husband Ryosuke. We met my sophomore year at Ursinus College and love each other very much.

[For more, check out: Should YOU go to Ursinus College]

2. Ursinus College is isolated (with little to no public transportation and limited parking)

When I was in Tokyo, I spent most of my time off-campus. I worked at a start-up company, taught English, volunteered, learned to cook in my apartment, and hung out downtown meeting new people. I didn’t spend all my time off-campus because the people at my university in Tokyo weren’t awesome – quite the opposite, in fact. I loved the people at my Tokyo University (International Christian University)… but I had better things to do than hang out around the dorm/cafeteria every day.

Crowded train in Tokyo, Japan Chuo Line

Like, you know, get stuck in this whole mess

Ursinus doesn’t offer the same luxury.

We have one bus that swings by the college every hour (if you’re lucky). It can take you to a train station (and the local prison) so you can take a train (that also only comes by every hour) into Philadelphia. A trip into the city takes anywhere between two to three hours of cold, lonely, awkwardness.

So I kind of assume Ursinus students marry/date each other because, let’s face it, there isn’t anything else to be doing around campus. I was excited when Ryosuke and I first started dating because I finally had someone who would sit on the train with me into Philadelphia.

And then we decided to get married! (or something like that)

And then we decided to get married! (or something like that)

3. Ursinus’ “Themed Dormitories” are a great way to meet similar people

I live in the International House (Musser). Living in Musser was one of the best decisions I made at Ursinus because I ended up meeting my husband, my friends, and future connections through the international house.

romance amwf couple relationships interracial japanese american couple dating tokyo japan

Growing up, I lived in Texas, Ghana, and Japan – as well as travelling to a handful of other countries. I had a difficult freshman year because a lot of the people on my hall had never left the state. They were all great people, don’t get me wrong, but we shared nothing in common.

I had a very lonely freshman year at Ursinus.

But then I moved into a double with my best friend – in the International House. It’s a small house with about 55 students (which, oddly enough, is the largest “themed house” on campus). I met my then-crush, now-husband, Ryosuke my first day in the dormitory. He was an exchange student from Japan, studying at Ursinus College for the next year. The rest is history.

Wedding Ursinus College Grace and Ryosuke amwf wedding amww couple

He wanted a “Captain America” themed wedding. I was strangely ok with that.

I know a lot of other people who have met friends and dates through their themed house on campus.

We have African American studies, Wellness, GSA, and a whole slew of other houses – with new themed being added (and subtracted) every year. You can request new themes too.

Out the window of the International House

Out the window of the International House

It’s really easy to date someone who shares your interests and lives right down the hall from you.

[For more, check out: 20 Reasons Ursinus College is an Excellent College]

4. Co-Ed Dormitories and Bathrooms

Before you go “ewww,” co-ed bathrooms aren’t as bad as they sound. Or perhaps I’m not bothered because “gross” things rarely faze me.

Co-ed dormitories are one of the easiest ways to meet a potential date (and practice that whole cohabitation thing) on a college campus. And every single dorm I can think of on the Ursinus College campus is co-ed.

5. Clubs, small classes, and a single cafeteria

In the center of campus is the “Wismer” cafeteria. Broken into two sections, Wismer is the only cafeteria on the Ursinus College campus. Upper Wismer is an all-you-can-eat buffet; Lower Wismer is a fast-food style takeout setup with tables, couches, and lots of coffee.

As someone who has gone to both a college with a single cafeteria and a college with multiple cafeterias, I cannot stress enough how important the single cafeteria is. I run into friends all the time at the cafeteria. It is easy to plan dates, friend-dates, or casual meetings.

One of the larger classes on the Ursinus campus

One of the larger classes on the Ursinus campus

In a similar way, the various clubs and small class size on campus certainly makes it easier to meet people. In fact, the second semester my sophomore year, Ryosuke and I took an independent study together with one of my favorite teachers. We were the only two taking that class. We basically got an “A” to study together twice a week with our teacher. It was lots of fun.

6. Small, campus parties and other “safe” alcohol-induced ways to hang out with your crush

I went to a lot of parties my freshman year. There was always free alcohol, attractive upper-classmen, and nearly no penalty for underage drinking (if you were caught). I have a lot of friends who met their current boyfriend or girlfriend at a party at Ursinus.

A group of us from the International House

A group of us from the International House

“One thing led to another… and kept leading to another for the next couple weeks before we kind of became exclusive,” one of my friends explained. He and his girlfriend have been ‘together’ for about six months now.

Parties aren’t big, scary, and intimidating – they are relaxed, fun, and a great way to blow off stress. Like I said, I went to a lot of parties my freshman year, before eventually getting tired of that ‘scene’ early in sophomore year. Now, as a senior, I have been out once in the last six months. I’m so lame.

[I put “safe” in quotation marks because these parties aren’t exactly “safe” by all standards. I have a lot of friends who have been acquaintance-raped (among other things) during their stint at Ursinus. This is not unique to my school; it happens all across America. ]

7. Most Students come from the same general area

Ryosuke told me so many Ursinus students get married because they all come from Philadelphia, Boston, New Jersey, or some place in PA a thirty minute drive away.

A lot of my friends get to hang out over break. Sometimes they get together; sometimes they don’t. Regardless, it is very easy for Ursinus students to see each other over winter break when they live in the same general area.

I, on the other hand, live in central Texas. The closest I got to this was the fact there was one other guy from Texas my freshman year, and we would often see each other at the Philadelphia or Austin airports. Sometimes we were even on the same plane. That was pretty much it.

In conclusion:

I have no idea why so many Ursinus students marry each other. I guess each couple is different – mine had a lot of “similar interests” and “at the right place at the right time” going on.

To each their own.

But hands down, going to Ursinus was one of the best decisions I ever made.

Ursinus college love statue students marry each other often blog




Add me on Google Plus: +Grace Buchele

About Grace Buchele Mineta

I got into the writing business by accident. Now I live in the countryside near Tokyo with my husband, Ryosuke, where I draw comics, blog, and make videos about our daily life. Contact: Website | More Posts

19 Comments on Why do so many Ursinus College Students Marry each other? (Thoughts from a soon-to-be married, ex-Ursinus student)

  1. Fellow Texan // 28 December, 2013 at 12:32 am //

    After you get married, are you planning on moving to Japan permanently or do you plan on coming back to the US sometime?

    • We’re moving to Japan after the wedding – for at least five to seven years. But it’s impossible to see where we will be in ten years :)

  2. Love this article thanks for sharing

  3. fellow UC girl // 24 December, 2013 at 10:37 pm //

    There is definitely something in the water! Haha My boyfriend was ’08 I was ’11 and we never met while we were at UC but met and started dating a year and a half ago. My roommate now, who never went to college, finds it hysterical how many of us get together

  4. Fellow Texan // 24 December, 2013 at 1:48 am //

    I’m just curious, judging by the fact that you just graduated college, you must be around 22 years old and you’re going to get married already. Many women these days are delaying marriage until many years after your age. What made you want to get married so young?

    • I’ve actually gotten that question a couple times. For me, it just seemed like the right time. And, of course, we love each other.
      We had decided for the sake of our relationship, I should graduate a semester early and move to Japan with him (that whole “Long Distance” thing was killer). We decided since we were already jumping to make the large commitment of me skipping job hunting in America to move to Japan, we might as well go “all in.”

      If I hadn’t met Ryosuke exactly when I did, we probably would not be getting married right now. I am a big fan of waiting several years before getting married – but I guess “when you know, you know” or something like that. I hope that was a good explanation.

      • Fellow Texan // 25 December, 2013 at 11:23 pm //

        Oh yes that was a good explanation. As someone who is inexperienced in love, I wonder what is about your fiancee that made you fall for him. How do you know for sure he’s the one? You’re a beautiful woman and you look like you can get any guy you want. Why him instead of, for example, a football player with bulging biceps and a ripped six pack?

        • Hahahaha. Thanks. Actually my fiance is a boxer, so he does have those bulging biceps and a ripped six pack. Looks aside, he’s probably the only one who would put up with me (and think it’s funny when I get mad).
          Looks fade, but you’re stuck with someone’s personality for, well, forever. Since I get to choose, I would rather be stuck with him forever.

  5. Srta. TacoMal // 22 December, 2013 at 12:58 am //

    That’s pretty interesting! The only thing I know of at my university (University of Tsukuba) is that the small creek that runs through campus is called “Amanogawa”, because most of the courses for “manly” majors like Computer Science are on one side of the river, and all of the others (and therefore most of the girls) are on the other side.

    • Wow, you go to University of Tsukuba?
      I was just on their campus last March (I participated in a study tour through Ishinomaki with a bunch of other Tsukuba students). What a coincidence!
      I was only on the University of Tsukuba campus for a couple hours, but it looked very cute (and rather rural). The students all seemed awesome, too~

      • Srta. TacoMal // 23 December, 2013 at 5:13 am //

        I got here in April, so I was a little late, haha! It is pretty rural, but I’m from Chapel Hill, NC, so it’s almost like being at home!
        The students here are all very nice, but they can be quite shy at times, which is in itself kind of endearing!
        I’m not sure if you’ve made a blog post about it, but are the students at your university outgoing toward you at all?

        • Ummmm… I’m not sure, to be honest. I wouldn’t say that the students at ICU were particularly NOT outgoing, but many were shy to approach foreigners. I had one nasty experience where I joined a club, only to later overhear two Japanese students talking to each other about why they hate it when foreigners try to join the club.
          My friend and I quit the club shortly after that.

          In any case, I know it can very difficult to approach someone (especially a group of someones) who speak another language, so I kind of understood. Through classes, clubs, ect I WAS able to make lots of Japanese friends, though.

          • Srta. TacoMal // 23 December, 2013 at 9:02 pm //

            Wow, that club experience sounds awful… At least the rest of them seem to have been okay, though!

            I joined the badminton club here, and other than one person, everyone seems to be really nice. The good and the bad are all just a part of the experience, I suppose!

          • That’s what I thought too. It’s a learning experience – which is kind of the whole point of study abroad :)

  6. Tallahassee // 21 December, 2013 at 11:27 pm //

    You would make a fine detective Gracie-san. Keep up the good work.

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