A First-Year’s Largely Unhelpful Guide to Showing Your Family Around Campus

By Emma N. ‘26

A couple weeks ago, my family came to visit. Since I’m an international student, that was the first time they’ve made the trip “across the pond” to see the place I now call home, the first time they got to see Pomona College with their own eyes, rather than through FaceTime. I was overjoyed, of course, and incredibly grateful that they were able to come to visit me. And yet, I suddenly found myself thrust into the role of an unofficial campus tour guide—unpaid, mind you. Unfortunately, I had failed to do my tour guide homework and wasn’t able to relate to my family the exact details of Pomona’s history or the precise statistics of Pomona’s diversity. Nevertheless, it seems that Pomona’s campus has something for everyone—whether you’re a slightly melancholic partial-empty-nester, a giddy parent who misses his own college years, or the younger sibling with a burning desire to assimilate into American college culture.

sun setting over Marston Quad

An essential stop on any campus tour, of course, is Smith Campus Center … I would even go as far as to call it the heart of Pomona College. It certainly captured my dad’s heart, who, upon seeing the tables invitingly placed around the merrily gurgling fountain, declared that this had been a wonderful tour and that he would happily spend the rest of the day relaxing in the shade with the lovely view of Marston Quad. I brought it to his attention that this was only our first stop and that we had the entire campus ahead of us. Eventually, I was able to convince him to forge onwards—but not before he proudly purchased a “Pomona College Dad” shirt from the Coop Store.

After showing off Estella Laboratory, the James Turrell Skyspace and the view of the mountains from Walker Beach, we arrived at Honnold-Mudd library. I pointed out the incredible collection of books and resources to my brother, though I think he was most impressed by the treadmill desks on the second floor (“You can work out and do your homework at the same time?!”). Pomona’s new Center for Athletics, Recreation and Wellness was, predictably, his favorite building. He was almost as excited about the center’s basketball courts as he was about the electric skateboards that you can spot anywhere on campus (“Those are way cooler than your non-electric scooter!”).

bowls of berriesAfter a quick game of foosball at the gym, I pointed out Big Bridges, Little Bridges and the Thatcher Music Building as we headed southwards, toward another Pomona College landmark. Yes, the Benton Museum of Art is fantastic, but I am of course referring to Pepo Melo: the iconic açaí bowl shop that my mom now shares my enthusiasm for. A staple among Pomona students, Pepo Melo serves unbelievably delicious arrangements of fresh fruits that you can customize with the bases and toppings of your dreams.

In conclusion, my improvised Pomona campus tour (family edition) was a success across the board. Of course, it was just the tip of the iceberg of the Pomona College experience, which can hardly be compressed to fit into the span of a couple of days. Well, there’s always next time—who knows, maybe by then I’ll have heeded my brother’s advice and invested in an electric skateboard!