By Alaina Perdon
Elm Staff Writer
As an environmental studies student and naturally outdoorsy person, Washington College’s Waterfront Campus was a major draw for me when considering what college to attend.
The Waterfront Campus includes Semans-Griswold Environmental Hall, Hodson Boathouse, and the surrounding greenspace and docks. It offers students the opportunity to engage directly with the Chester River both academically and recreationally.
While these resources are attractive to an aspiring ecologist or dedicated rower, the Waterfront Campus has something to offer students from any discipline.
“SG Hall, the Hodson Boathouse, and Waterfront Campus are designed for everyone to enjoy the splendor and beauty of the riverfront space,” Center for Environment and Society Education Program Manager Jemima Clark said. “SG Hall was intentionally designed with open deck space, natural materials, and other aesthetics to blend in with the surroundings and emphasize the natural world around us.”
Aside from providing gorgeous views of the river, Semans-Griswold Hall also houses the Center for Environment and Society, a signature center dedicated to studying people’s place in nature.
CES offers internships and research opportunities to students regardless of major. It also regularly hosts events open to the entire campus, such as film screenings and tours on their research vessel, Callinectes.
“[CES is] interdisciplinary by nature and [does] not just cater to [environmental] students who might be coming to the building for classes. We often collaborate with other departments on campus to host events,” CES Coordinator Jamie Frees said.
According to Frees, CES is always looking for ways to attract more students to their building.
“Since this is still a fairly new space, we are learning how to best use it and would love to hear from students on what type of events they might like to have in the space,” Frees said.
Adjacent to Semans-Griswold Hall is the Hodson Boathouse, which is home to the rowing and sailing teams, as well as a fleet of kayaks and paddle boards, which are available for student use free of charge. Getting out on the water is a great way to get more acquainted with our environment, take a break from classes, or get a fun workout in.
“The waterfront is one of the things that makes WC special. Everyone needs to unwind and have some fun after a week of hard classes and the waterfront is the perfect place for it,” senior Evan McCarthy said. “The clubs and activities on the waterfront are come one, come all.”
According to Waterfront Director Ben Armiger, students of all skill levels are welcome to try the activities offered by the boathouse.
“We offer Friday Open Sail, which runs from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. every Friday evening. It is lots of fun. Most people does not actually know how to sail when they first show up. Along with the help of students and the sailing team, we will teach anyone how to sail,” Armiger said.
If paddling up the river or learning about water pollution do not appeal to you, there are still plenty of ways to enjoy the space. Lounge in the grass, take a walk along the path, or finish an assignment from the comfortable chairs on the Semans-Griswold Hall porch. You do not have to be an environmental science major to soak up a little sunshine.
“It is important to note that the boathouse is for everyone and especially students who are not familiar with boats, kayaks, or wakeboards,” Arminger said. “I have been the waterfront director here for eight years and many of the students who have enjoyed the waterfront the most have come from non-boating backgrounds.”
From the fancy laboratory features of Semans-Griswold Hall to the exciting watersport activities afoot at the boathouse, there is no shortage of fun for everyone at the Waterfront Campus.
“The waterfront is a criminally underutilized space, so get down there,” McCarthy said.
Photo by Izze Rios