Often referred to as the "Earlham bubble," the campus can feel like an oasis from the harsh world some days and an overscrowded desert island on others. When family and friends come to visit, students can be hard-pressed to find a cool hangout to take them to off campus. Richmond is truly devoid of good ethnic food and urban culture, but don't think you're totally stranded. With an open mind, you'll come to appreciate the grounding effect of a bike ride around town. Don't let the abundant conservative bumper stickers get you down. Despite the general contrast in political leanings between Earlham students and Richmond dwellers, if you walk down the sidewalk with a smile, you'll be greeted with the same. Volunteering in the community is also a great way to help bridge the Richmond-Earlham divide. With jaw-droppingly low literacy rates and increasing unemployment in the area, your efforts will not go unappreciated.
Those addicted to metropolitan culture, a happening music scene, or ethnic food should look elsewhere, or tighten their belts for the long haul. Keep in mind, Earlham is only for you if you can stand not seeing your place of residence on your favorite band's touring schedule for four years. But when it comes right down to it, Earlham wouldn't be Earlham if we were transplanted to New York City or San Francisco. Come to Earlham if you're willing to forego urban comforts in exchange for a close-knit campus community. If nothing else, commiserating about the dismal lack of atmosphere can be a point of bonding among the student body and new faculty.