Stuck in the wheat fields with nothing to do? Not at Whitman! Rather than complain about a lack of choices, more often we hear Whitman students talking about having to choose from a number of attractive options on any given day. Activities include college-sponsored events, such as lectures, concerts, art exhibits, and outdoor activities. In keeping with our philosophy of educating the whole student, the college values the out-of-class experiences for the lessons they teach.
ASWC (Associated Students of Whitman College)
In addition to college-sponsored activities, student interest and initiative generates many activities at Whitman. The student government association, ASWC, is the umbrella organization for most student groups and activities, and fosters student participation in college governance, provides leadership opportunities, and supports the development of new interest groups. In addition, ASWC appoints students to college trustee committees, which add a student voice in the governance of the college. ASWC helps to sponsor speakers and campus events such as Winterim, Choral Contest, Renaissance Faire, and other concerts, speakers, and special events. ASWC also supports the student newspaper, the literary magazine, and the student-operated radio station.
Another popular option for students is participation in the Greek system. One-third of Whitman students affiliate with the national fraternities and sororities on campus. The four men’s groups operate houses near campus. The three women’s groups occupy residence hall sections in Prentiss Hall. All Greek groups govern themselves and involve students in academic achievements, leadership opportunities, community service projects, and social affiliation.
An extremely popular hangout in the Reid Campus Center is the Outdoor Program office, which houses a well-equipped rental shop and a bicycle repair shop. Here students can participate in a variety of outdoor activities for all ability levels: hiking, biking, climbing, rafting, skiing, kayaking — you name it and we do it! In addition to planned trips for groups, the Outdoor Program provides equipment, resources, and information to assist students in planning their own adventures.
For the highly competitive student athlete, Whitman offers varsity sport opportunities. Men compete in baseball, basketball, cross-country, golf, soccer, swimming, and tennis. Women’s sports include basketball, cross-country, golf, soccer, swimming, tennis, and volleyball. On the national level, we hold membership in NCAA III. At the conference level, we are members of the Northwest Conference (NWC). Athletes, like all Whitman students, receive financial aid based on need as computed by the College Scholarship Service.
Intramural and Club Sports
For those not interested in varsity athletics, Whitman sponsors an extensive intramural program, which offers basketball, bowling, flag football, soccer, softball, ultimate Frisbee, volleyball, and dodge ball. Our club sport program currently includes, among other options, cycling, lacrosse, rugby, snowboarding, and ultimate Frisbee teams, which compete with other college teams in the Northwest. Participants in this program take a significant role in organizing game schedules, transportation, and funding. Consequently, the programs rely on student interest and initiative to succeed.
It is tempting to counsel students to wait to get involved in campus activities: “See how things go with your academic load. If you have extra time, then get involved.” What we find, and what research supports, is that students who do get involved outside the classroom show higher satisfaction with their college experiences and are more likely to complete their degrees. Active students learn to budget their time, make friends, and acquire skills and abilities which enhance their personal development. Most Whitman students fall into the category of “busy and involved;” their energy and contributions are a vital part of Whitman life.