The Scripps Experience: Residential Life


Residence life

Ranked #80 on Forbes‘ Top Colleges 2015 list, and #14 on its list of Top 25 Western Colleges, Scripps is well known and well regarded for its academics. But a quick step onto campus and visitors can see why it is also featured in The Princeton Review‘s top 20 lists for Best Quality of Life, Most Beautiful Campus, and Best College Dorms, as well as listed on the U.S. National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places. Just as the College’s small class sizes and student-faculty ratio foster academic engagement, the residence hall system is designed to create and sustain a strong student community.

Scripps was founded in 1926, and four of its seven residence halls date to the 1920s and 30s, designed in the Mediterranean style that was popular in Southern California at the time and characterizes the campus. (An eighth residence hall, NEW Hall, is currently under construction and scheduled to open in fall 2016.) Of the approximately 960 students at Scripps, over 90 percent live in either Eleanor Joy Toll (1927), Ellen Browning (1929), Grace Scripps Clark (1929), Susan Miller Dorsey (1930), Frankel (1966), Gabrielle Jungels-Winkler (2000), or Wilbur (2000) Residence Hall.

Though they may be architecturally different, Scripps’ residence halls have similar features. Each includes a full kitchen, living rooms, a courtyard, and even a grand piano. Over the years, renovations have added amenities such as computer labs and Wi-Fi, washers and dryers, and televisions. For students seeking out a space to read or study, there is also a “browsing room” in each hall. These quiet, cozy rooms feature antique furniture, shelves loaded with books, a fireplace, and expansive windows to enjoy a campus view.

The Scripps student community is close-knit in part because of the way the residence halls are organized, with students from each class year mixed together on every floor. First-year roommates might be neighbors to graduating seniors, while sophomores might room with juniors returning from a semester abroad. New to Scripps and have a burning question about which class to take or which study-abroad program to apply to? With access to all class years, first-years have a multitude of resources just next door.

Students may opt to live in one residence over another, and they have the freedom to socialize in other halls, as well. According to Assistant Director of Residential Life Jill Langan, “While hall identities are definitely present, students also have access to each other’s residence halls, and can visit friends anytime. So in a sense, the whole campus is their community.”

Throughout the week, students from different halls can be found cooking meals together, doing homework, hosting club meetings and film screenings, practicing on the grand piano, or simply lounging with friends. Scripps organizations and clubs, including a dedicated Activities Team, or A-Team, regularly host community events such as DIY hot chocolate, Sunday Snack, Super Bowl screenings, and community composting workshops.

First-year class president Vanessa Akinnibosun ’19 has a number of favorite spaces and places in her hall.

“It’s hard to just choose one! But on a nice warm day, I do enjoy reading outside in the courtyard or taking a stroll around the dorms while listening to music or talking on the phone with family and friends,” she says.

“The different areas provide options for students who want to be social versus students who want to study. There’s a calming, peaceful, and empowering aura that surrounds Scripps as a whole, and it can be definitely felt within its residential life.”

A few residence halls house Living Learning Communities (LLC), supportive environments for students with common interests or affiliations such as academic majors, languages, or social or political commitments. Scripps offers Spanish, German, and Italian halls to those ambitious students who want to hone their language skills outside the classroom. A section of Wilbur Hall serves members of the science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and pre-health LLC.

For those who want an off-campus experience while still being connected to the Scripps community, the College offers off-campus housing and apartments, as well as Scripps housing at Harvey Mudd College and the Five-College Living Exchange, where students can live on one of the 5C campuses while their exchange lives at Scripps. While priority is given to upperclasses for off-campus housing, all students must fill out a detailed application and undergo an interview by res-life to qualify.

For more about residence hall life Scripps, click here.