Talk about the best of both worlds! Located in a quiet residential neighborhood is a 116-acre campus of verdant lawns, winding paths, statuesque trees, a wooded natural wetland preserve, and a spring-fed lake frequented by migratory birds and other wildlife. Reed is a short bicycle, bus, and soon light rail ride, from the energy and excitement of downtown Portland, which is widely cited as the nation's most livable urban center. Portland boasts a wealth of diverse cultural, entertainment, shopping, and dining opportunities in an environment characterized by a combination of youthful exuberance and Pacific Northwest nonchalance. The Oregon Coast is 90 minutes to the west and Mt. Hood 90 minutes to the east where Reed has its own ski cabin.
On the campus itself, century-old brick Tudor gothic buildings are interspersed with newer traditionally designed and remodeled facilities. The library, classrooms, and laboratories resonate with the history of decades of inquiry and discovery, supported with modern technology. Extensive facility expansion and renovation financed by a $112 million development campaign increased the overall square footage of Reed's buildings by almost 30 percent and added seven acres of contiguous property to the northwest corner of the campus. For those who want it, housing on campus in one of the 23 residence halls is all but guaranteed for all four years, because a healthy percentage of Reed students enjoy living in Portland neighborhoods near campus.
Campus Facilities & Equipment
The Reed College campus was established on a tract of land known in 1910 as Crystal Springs Farm. The social center of the college is the Gray Campus Center. It includes a commons building, student union, kitchen, dining room, private meeting rooms, student activities offices, bookstore, and mail services. In a park-like setting near the heart of the city, the rolling lawns and open spaces of Reed's 116-acre campus include some of the largest and finest specimen trees in the Portland area.
At the physical center of campus is the canyon, a beautiful wooded upland surrounding a spring-fed lake and emergent marsh. A walking trail around the lake provides numerous opportunities to observe migratory birds and other woodland wildlife. The college recently built a fish passageway that creates a link from the upper Reed Lake area to the Crystal Springs stream below.
In fall 2013, Reed opened a new $28-million Performing Arts Building, representing a major step forward in the College's commitment to the important role the arts have played throughout Reed's first 100 years. For the first time in Reed's history, the departments of music, dance, and theatre are housed in one building that includes rehearsal and performance space, offices, scene and costume studios, collaborative spaces, and a multimedia lab.
Housing at Reed includes traditional residence halls, as well as theme dorms, co-ops, and language houses.
Reed undergraduates may participate in a number of domestic exchange and study abroad opportunities. Domestic programs include: Howard University in Washington, D.C.; Sarah Lawrence College in New York; and Sea Education Association in Massachusetts. In addition, Reed provides study-abroad opportunities for students in Australia, Argentina, China, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Morocco, Kenya, Lebanon, Palestine, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Turks and Caicos, and the United Kingdom. Students may also arrange independent study plans in consultation with appropriate faculty members.
Student Organizations & Activities
Reed maintains inclusivity in all organizations and activities, so the college has no fraternities or sororities and no NCAA or NAIA athletic teams (more about sports below). All campus organizations are student-created and student-run. Student organizations must lobby the Student Senate for funding annually, after which the Senate oversees a vote in which the entire student body decides what organizations should be funded. Thus, the number and nature of campus organizations at Reed changes every year to meet current student interests. Instead of NCAA or NAIA competition, students participate in sports on an informal basis. Intramural sports and club sports proliferate in basketball, fencing, rugby, sailing, soccer, squash and ultimate Frisbee. A three-semester physical education requirement underscores the importance of physical fitness and the balance of healthy mind and body.
Intellectual discussions and debates are most definitely woven into the fabric of life here. As a physics major reveals, “One of my favorite things about Reed is how often people will strike up engaged discussions about anything. Be it conversations about the axiom of choice, the existence of free will, or the various merits of 1990s television shows, every conversation is fascinating. Best, you’ll hear these conversations everywhere you go: dining hall, dorms, academic buildings, even just people walking around campus.” Of course, this isn’t wholly surprising given that life at Reed “revolves around academics.” But fear not; even Reedies cannot survive by books alone. And, “while work and fun are, in many cases, synonymous, the need to break free from the library manifests on the weekends by campus dances and other forms of spontaneous creativity.” A psychology major quickly adds, “I’m never bored because there’s always something going on and it’s never the same. Glittery dance parties in the Student Union? Check. Movie night in one of the Language Houses? Check. Debate-watching in Vollum? Check. Visiting lecturers? Check. Pool hall tournament? Check. RPG gaming night? Check.” We are also told that “a lot of students partake in various substances.” However, an understanding junior qualifies this statement, “If you are straightedge or the like, like me, your boundaries will be pushed, but almost always by people who are respectful and who genuinely desire to keep the dorms a safe space for you.” Finally, despite grumblings that public transport “can be annoying,” undergrads may take advantage of anything downtown Portland has to offer. Transportation woes will be alleviated when a new TriMet MAX Light Rail station opens near campus come September 2015.