Article by: Kylie Miller
Toddlers running around is typically not what comes to mind when picturing a college campus. Here at Goucher College, it is a fairly regular occurrence.
Two-year-old Emma Magness can be seen all over campus interacting with Goucher students who she knows to be her friends. No, she is not a child genius or the youngest college student in history. Emma lives on Goucher’s campus with her parent, Sarah Magness.
Sarah Magness is a new Residential Life Coordinator (RLC) at Goucher this year. Moving to Goucher was a change for Emma, but living on a college campus was not. In fact, it is all she knows. Prior to Goucher, Sarah and Emma lived on a college campus in North Carolina where Sarah previously worked.
Emma is a typical toddler, not yet understanding what college is or that she is growing up in a different community than most children. “She just knows that she lives in a place that a lot of people live and that it’s a very safe place” Sarah describes. The security a college campus provides is beneficial for Emma, especially on a closed campus like Goucher.
There are many benefits of living on a college campus for Emma and Sarah, such as the amenities. Emma loves to use the pool on campus during open swim hours. She also visits the children’s section of the library often to read some of her favorite books including The Eyes Book and The Quiet Book. Emma calls the equestrian field and barn, “Old McDonald’s Farm” where she enjoys going to see the horses. Emma also loves swinging on the hammocks in the First Year Village and riding her bike around campus.
Emma is very popular on Goucher’s campus. Many students stop to greet her and almost all recognize her. Emma is not afraid to say hello to these friendly faces. Though many students know her by name, Emma is not afraid to introduce herself to new people on her own.“There are people who greet her, and I don’t even know who they are” Sarah says, laughing.
Sarah is grateful to raise Emma in this environment and believes it has played a big role in Emma’s development. “She’s very social because of it” Sarah explains. “As a result of being around so many people, she knows how to behave, she knows what’s acceptable and what isn’t. She’s very conscious of other people.” Sarah also describes Emma as verbal, aware, curious, and well-adjusted. “I attribute much of it to her growing up on a college campus,” says Sarah.
According to Sarah, Goucher’s diversity of thought and identity is especially beneficial to Emma and her understanding of the world around her. “Nothing is strange to her,” says Sarah, “She sees so many different people every day.”
In addition to Emma, Goucher College is home to a few other children. There is a Faculty in Residency (FIR) program which allows professors to live on campus. Several FIR’s live on campus with their families, including their children. Emma gets to interact with these children frequently. She also goes to daycare off campus, so she has plenty of interaction with children her age.
In sixteen years when Emma is old enough to be a college student, Sarah is confident that Emma will be more than prepared. Emma has always lived on a college campus and Sarah intends to keep it that way. “We’re going to stay on a campus as long as we can,” Sarah says. Who knows? Maybe Emma will become a Goucher student one day!