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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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