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Humboldt State University, like any school, is what you make of it. I went to HSU to study environmental science since I knew that they have a good program. HSU is pretty good in any of the natural sciences- they offer ornithology, ichtyology, marine biology, and so on. I don't know much about other departments. I've heard that the theater arts department isn't that good at all, but that's only from what I heard from someone who was in it. I've personally enjoyed my time there and have gotten involved in various clubs and councils on campus. HSU doesn't have nearly as many clubs as they advertise- I know for a fact that many of the clubs they advertise have been inactive for years. Arcata is a small community (pop 10,000 or so) maybe 10 minutes north of another small community (Eureka), and people complain that there isn't anything to do. There are two bowling alleys in the neighboring cities and there is a movie theater about a 10 minute walk from campus (the country's oldest). The area up there is very slow growth, and Victorian architecture abounds. I've found the people in the community to be friendly, although there are a good number of homeless people. As for things to do, I highly recommend going to the monthly Arts Alive events at the Arcata plaza and in Old Town Eureka. During the dry season there are weekly farmer's markets. Center Activities on campus offers numerous camping/backpacking/etc trips to go on. Center Arts brings many great acts and well known names to perform on campus, and there are also community performance centers (including for the Eureka Symphony). The area up there is of course full of trees, and there is a redwood forest behind campus. I highly recommend driving 45 minutes north or so to Prairie Creek State Park, where you can see Roosevelt Elk and hike Fern Canyon. There is less to do there big city wise, but there is a lot to do outdoors wise. My major itself has been good. I've only taken a few classes which I would consider to be very difficult, the rest have been completely manageable. For all of my classes professors have been very open to being able to talk to them. The culture on campus tends towards the down to earth hippy type, but that's okay. In town you'll see few chain restaurants but a lot of mom and pop stores. There is also a big interest in organic/locally sourced food. I don't know. Overall I've enjoyed my time up there, but you make your own experience. Get involved, and if a club or something doesn't exist, start one.
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