In reference to small-town Orange City, IA, the question, “Where do you go to school?” is usually followed by the comment, “Oh, where’s that?” Since this is a common occurrence, Northwestern students were pleasantly surprised to see Orange City on CollegeandSeminary.com’s list of top Christian college towns a few months ago. The website published an article on Aug. 14, 2015 entitled “Top 10 Christian College Towns-And What Makes Them Unique”. The article ranked Orange City as number five. Other college towns on the list included Grand Rapids, Mich., Phoenix, Ariz., Wheaton, Ill., and Nashville, Tenn.
“It’s your home and you always want your home to be recognized as the best,” Joanna Guhl, a junior from Chicago, said. “Looking at the ones before Orange City, the top 4, I’ve been to those places and I agree that they deserve a higher spot.”
The article captured the true Dutch charm of Orange City when it placed the town on the list for its small town culture, cleanliness, safety and community. Morgan Lee Olhausen, a junior transfer from the University of Iowa, described these qualities.
“You see people drive by and they’ll wave at you. Random people will come up and talk to you and all these businesses are constantly playing Christian music. You know that you will encounter nice people and you aren’t afraid to walk the streets at night,” Olhausen said.
The article wrote, “With 6,000 residents, the 1,000 or so at the college are a strongly felt presence.” Even though students make up 1/6th of the population of the city, student opinions vary on the level of involvement between NW and Orange City.
Guhl said, “Our college campus really does go out and use the businesses around here, but there’s many parts of the community that we don’t reach.”
As a transfer from the University of Iowa, Olhausen felt that NW is separated from Orange City. At the University of Iowa, the university was the town. Olhausen said, “The campus [NW] is more of a section of a town versus being integrated into the town.”
Both Guhl and Olhausen would like to see more interaction between NW and Orange City. Hosting more events that are open to the community and finding more opportunities to help with projects in the community are two ideas that could potentially remedy this gap.
Despite the article’s claim that students walk to the movie theater and Pizza Ranch, the lifestyles of Guhl and Olhausen show otherwise. They both choose to drive when venturing that far down the road.
The amused Olhausen said, “No, I have never walked to Pizza Ranch.”
To read the published article, visit collegeandseminary.com.