I stumbled across another of those “best college town lists” the other day. They are quite funny. Sometimes a little silly. And still fodder for an argument that, frankly, is not really worth it.
The last list I found was in Via, the magazine of the Oregon Chapter of the American Automobile Association, the nonprofit collection of clubs involved in insurance, roadside assistance, maps and more. travel information.
A beautiful photo of Gonzaga University, with its clock tower lining the river in Spokane, Washington, adorns the cover. Unfortunately, despite the presence of Gonzaga and three other schools, Spokane is NOT a college town. It’s just too big and the university environment is just not in the foreground. But it gets me a little bit ahead.
First, let’s take a look at the Via list. In order (but it doesn’t appear to be a ranked order), they favored Eugene, San Luis Obispo (CA), Provo (Utah), Spokane, Santa Cruz (CA), Missoula (Montana), Chico (CA) and Tucson (Arizona). Yes, no Corvallis. Sigh. More on that later.
The criteria were a bit odd, more geared towards a tourist who might want to visit a college town, rather than someone who might want to live there. They noted the presence of “artisan burgers” as being important. Guess they’ve never been in line at downtown Corvallis McDonald’s at 11pm on a Saturday night. Plus a photo and chats on the wooden roller coaster at Santa Cruz Beach / Boardwalk. In a way, I find it hard to believe that a merry-go-round is one of the top five reasons people sign up for UC-Santa Cruz.