Long-time readers will remember that both Nicole and self have a deep, abiding, uncritical love for Deep Springs College, the bonkers, hyper-isolated, working cattle ranch slash all-male two-year university in Eastern California.
Founded in 1917, Deep Springs College is a unique institution of higher learning. The educational program is built upon three pillars: academics, self-government, and manual labor. The school is located 40 miles from Bishop, California on an isolated cattle ranch in Deep Springs Valley.
Between 12 and 15 students are admitted each year. A scholarship covers the costs of tuition, room, and board for every student offered admission. In exchange, Deep Springs students are expected to dedicate themselves to lives of service to humanity.
“But Mallory,” I hear you say, “isn’t your whole deal kind of questioning and thinking critically about the Lonely White Man Mythology?” Yes, absolutely, except for this one thing. I remain convinced of two things in this life: that if I had been born a man, I would have been A) completely insufferable and B) a Deep Springs alum. I have never had any desire to make Deep Springs change their policy even for one-off bookish female mascots; it pleases me to simply know there are a handful of doofuses out in the Bishop Valley reading Plato at one another and darning their own socks. I love and cherish the idea of Deep Springs, even though it is the product of flawed human beings and not just like, the fantasy of the American History Boys that exists only in my head.. (Look at their list of notable alumni sometime. I mean, if you’re going to preserve the LWM Mythology, this is how you fucking do it.)
(Also: how many all-men’s colleges are even left in the US? Morehouse, some yeshivas, and Deep Springs. I’m okay letting them have this!)
ANYHOW. The point is, we don’t have to worry about getting into Deep Springs anymore, because they are building another Deep Springs only this one is in Alaska and they are letting girls in!
Outer Coast College will be a new two-year institution of higher education, located in Sitka, Alaska. It will offer a curriculum for the whole person, built upon the three pillars of Academics, Labor, and Self-governance.
We draw our inspiration from the work of education visionary L.L. Nunn. In 1917, Nunn founded Deep Springs College in a quiet valley just east of the Sierra Nevada, recognizing ahead of his time the pedagogical potential of manual labor and political deliberation. Though Deep Springs has proved to be a remarkably successful experiment, it is not widely known. A century after its founding, it remains the only college of its kind.
Labor & Service
We intend for students to invest well over 20 hours a week in valuable work. Students will catch and smoke salmon, maintain campus facilities, garden, keep chickens, intern at one of many local non-profits, and perform the dishwashing, cooking, and janitorial work that is done by paid staff at most colleges.
“But Mallory,” you protest again, “what’s keeping you from smoking salmon now, or washing your own dishes at home, or becoming the kind of person you wish you had become a long time ago?”
It would be different, somehow, at Outer Coast. I would be different, hard-limbed and keen-eyed and I’d rise with the dawn every morning and my genitals would be carved from flint and Marcus Aurelius quotations, and things would be different, there.
So now my only problem is that I’m ten years too old and have to just deal with the fact that I went to the wrong college and have regretted it ever since. It would be the last unicorn that came to Molly Grue.
Mallory is an Editor of The Toast.