A liberal arts school near Tacoma, Washington, Pacific Lutheran University “offers [a] well-rounded education and encourages students to be active participants in the world” by encouraging students to lead “lives of thoughtful inquiry, service, leadership and [to] care for other people, their communities, and their planet.” Students say that the school emphasizes “sustainability and social justice” and “provides various opportunities to learn about community, culture, their importance, and our impact on them.” Students say that PLU provides them “with [a] quality education” and a curriculum that “seeks to educate their students in thoughtful and diverse discussions while teaching [them] to be thoughtful of our environment and community.” They say that through this “distinctive education [PLU] sets itself apart from other colleges.” Students find their professors to be “kind, understanding, [and] very knowledgeable and interested in their subject.” PLU professors “genuinely enjoy educating” and “are capable of holding interest as well as teaching in a functional way” because they are “engaging and passionate about their subject matter.” Students enjoy the typical PLU teaching style that places a greater emphasis on discussion and group activities, explaining that “discussion and activity time make learning much more exciting.” Some PLU students said that their professors “are not afraid to challenge us,” and while some students were “overwhelmed at first,” all agree that the majority of the faculty “are accessible and friendly and obviously care about their students.” Many students complain that the school needs to “become more diverse in its student and faculty population.”
The typical PLU student is “engaged in the on-campus community and interested in the surrounding community,” “passionate about their major,” “but often [focused] even more on social justice and community service.” Students say that “it takes a couple weeks to adjust to the new scenery and structure,” but because the “students are welcoming and there are many ways and places to get involved on campus,” “it is easy to reach out to find who you will really fit in with.” Many students stressed to us that “every student is unique, and . . . weirdness is encouraged.” PLU students value “an understanding of larger global issues,” but some criticize the student body as being “privileged, with no concept of life outside of privilege.” Indeed, many agree that the student body skews demographically towards “white, middle-upper middle class” “heterosexual female Lutheran[s]” from the Pacific Northwest and that the school would benefit from greater diversity. But students who “don’t fit with all of those” categories say they “always feel welcome and feel like I fit in.”
Living on campus is obligatory for all students “the first two years or until they turn 20, then most people live either within a few blocks . . . or move into the campus-owned apartment buildings, which are really nice.” Despite “a large commuter population,” “there is still a lively community of students that live near campus.” PLU doesn’t have a Greek system, “but there are still “party houses” and there are open parties around campus every weekend.” On campus students can choose from “a lot of different groups to join, . . . and because of our proximity to mountains and other outdoor activities there is a huge community of outdoorsy people” who “love to hike around here on different trails or mountains.” In fact the school’s “Outdoor Recreation takes trips of students for low costs to amazing things like rock climbing, kayaking, hiking, [and] snowshoeing.” Students also “love to go to concerts for a wide variety of music” and enjoy “in-depth talks about current issues.”
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