Lectures on the lake, class in the woods, homework by a roaring fire, complete with mountain pies and s’mores! This couldn’t be what college is like, could it? For 10 students this semester, who are taking classes at the Raystown Field Station, it is. The immersion semester at the field station provides hands-on opportunities for Juniata College students to conduct environmental and ecological research, while taking classes and living in “green buildings”. But what is living at the field station really like? Students who have experienced life at the field station give their opinions.
Q: Why did you decide to go to the field station?
Matthew Parks ’10, Tyrone, Pa.: “I decided to go to the field station because; let’s be honest, you live beside a lake in the woods! But my primary reason for coming out here was to work on a hands-on IT project with Dr. Pelkey. Besides that, at the field station I could take GIS as an upper level IT elective, as well as earn my IC and CA, which are required for graduation. It was a complete package deal for me.”
Q: Has living at the field station changed your personal view on sustainability?
Franklin Hockenbrocht ’10, Sunbury, PA: Yes. Before living there, I never thought about the future of humanity, and the importance that sustainable living has to our societal health and prosperity. I now think more consciously about my personal actions in regards to sustainability, and ponder the issues concerning natural resources on the national and international level.
Q: What do you do on the weekends?
Erin Dlaboloa ’11, West Seneca, NY: “If the weather’s nice, we go canoeing, kayaking or swimming around on the lake, which is super fun. There’s always the option to go hiking in the woods, as well. We have campfires and make s’mores and mountain pies, and watch a lot of movies in Shuster. I was worried about being bored here on weekends, but it’s really a lot of fun.”
Q: How would you compare classes at the field station to classes on campus?
Brianna O’Malley ’10, South Salem, N.Y.:” Classes here are more laid back. With smaller classes things move quicker. Also, we very rarely are actually sitting in a classroom. Professors plan lots of guest speakers and field trips, and almost every day we just go outside to put our lecture material into practice. There’s a lot of flexibility, which means you have the opportunity to do things you would not otherwise get to do on campus.”
Q: What is your favorite and least favorite part of a semester at the field station?
Lisa Prince ’10, Montoursville, PA: “My favorite part of the field station is the location. It is absolutely beautiful out there during all seasons of the year; you can get a good view of the lake from your bedroom window, and the location gives many opportunities to do just about any outdoor activity that you can think of. My least favorite part about living at the field station was the disorganization. However, a lot of that was due to many of the classes still being experimental, and I think that all of that will change in the upcoming years.”
-Elizabeth Roberts ’10, Juniata Online Journalist