Between all the homework, club activities and all the other events that fill up the day of a Swattie, it is the rare moment we have to sit and do nothing. This is not a list of the best places to study (though feel free) but these are the best five places on campus to sit, whether it be for quiet meaningful reflection, hanging out with friends or forgetting about that last bio quiz.
Alligator Rock, or Pride Rock as some call it, is just a short walk away from the amphitheater. Located at the top of the Crum, it provides a great view of the woods and the Crum Creek. The best time to visit is at sunrise when you can get a great view without the sun’s glare. Remember to always be careful when getting up to the rock!
Alligator rock is as famous with Swarthmore students as it is with Swarthmore town residents, so you’re bound to meet someone you know or get to know someone new!
The Big Chair
The Big Chair is an icon at Swarthmore and often the first thing people ask about when they see campus. It was built by Jake Beckman ‘04 during his time here at Swarthmore. He built many larger than life sculptures including a light switch, a giant shoe and of course the big chair.
None of his sculptures were made to be permanent. As such, in the spring of 2008 the original Big Chair was permanently retired. However, the Chair was so popular among students, faculty and Swarthmore town residents that the college asked Beckman, to build a new Big Chair that could withstand the elements. Now every spring the Big Chair appears on Parrish Beach, free for anyone to climb on, gather around and of course, sit in.
On a several-acre clearing in the center of the Crum Woods lies a circle of rocks surrounding a fire pit. Originally created by Steve Wheaton, Director of Grounds at Swarthmore in 1980, and inspired by structures like the Stonehenge, this area is named the Crumhenge.
While reaching it requires a bit of walking, The Crumhenge lies as a gathering place for anyone who knows how to find it. While some speculate about the meaning and purpose of the mysterious Crumhenge, I find that it’s a perfect place for bonfires and stargazing.
The Whispering Bench
The Whispering Bench is an often-forgotten place to sit on campus. Located on the front lawn of campus near the president’s house and the Cherry Border, the Whispering Bench is maintained in memory of Carolien Powers ’22.
The defining feature of the Whispering Bench is it parabolic shape, which creates the perfect acoustic conditions for sound to travel from one end of the bench to the other. The effect allows even a whisper to be heard by everyone sitting with you no matter how close or far away from them you sit.
The Sharples Swing
You can find the Sharples Swing between Sharples Dining Hall and the train tunnel leading to the Fieldhouse and Matchbox. I often tell people that Swarthmore is one giant playground and nothing shows this more than the Sharples Swing.
The best thing to do here is to swing! Between all the responsibilities and work, the Sharples Swing is a great place to go and be a kid again.