Living and Learning

Your ability to achieve academically at Whitman often hinges on your overall personal wellness outside of the classroom. Whether you live in a residence hall, interest house, fraternity house, or off campus facility, the choices you make about your personal health and safety can enhance or detract from your physical and intellectual growth.

Residence Hall Living

Some of your fondest memories of college life will come from your residence hall experience. Whitman is a residential campus by design. This refers not only to the fact that we house students on campus, but also to the value we place on the learning and personal development that takes place in the residence halls. There is no substitute for the personal care and attention students receive living on campus. Each hall has a well-trained staff that will assist you or point you in the direction of the appropriate resource when you encounter difficulties. Many programs are presented each month that complement and enhance the academic curriculum at Whitman College. So whether it’s a stress management workshop, a faculty discussion, a study group, or a Frisbee golf (Frolf) outing on campus, you will have plenty of activities to choose from every week.

Residence Life Staff

Residence hall staff members are a great resource for students. They can provide information on many topics and are well-qualified to address a variety of concerns. Each hall staff is led by a Resident Director (RD), a live-in professional staff member, who manages the residence hall. Some halls also have a Senior Resident (SR) who assists the RD and helps to oversee the other staff members. Each residence hall section has its own Resident Assistant (RA), who can help students with questions about college policies, lost keys, and many other topics. Most of all, they want to get to know you and are willing to talk to you about anything from getting along with your roommate to getting involved on campus. Finally, each section in first-year halls has a Student Academic Adviser (SA) to help with the academic side of student life, from registration to studying for finals.

Roommates

Some new students have expectations of becoming best friends with their roommates. Although we try to assign you a compatible roommate, the person sharing your room might be quite different from you. If you start out by seeing those differences as interesting, you might discover over time that you have a fascinating new friend. Developing a good relationship with your roommate takes good communication skills, patience, and an open mind. The first step is to talk about the things you value and about your lifestyles so that you can anticipate where future problems might exist. When miscommunications occur, try to resolve them right away. Practice tolerance, but avoid waiting until the situation becomes intolerable before discussing the problem with your roommate. To help in this process the RAs facilitate a program called “Living With A Roommate” each fall.

Residence Hall Options

The campus is small and the residence halls are all within a ten-minute walk from each other; they each provide a different environment in which to grow and learn. First-year students are usually assigned to Anderson, Jewett, Lyman, Prentiss, or North. All residence hall rooms are wired for direct computer network access, and each room has its own telephone equipped with voicemail.

First-Year Halls

Anderson Hall, an example of classic 1950s collegiate architecture, remodeled in the summers of 2012 and 2013 houses approximately 140 students in mostly double rooms. The hall is divided into six sections, each with its own lounge and kitchen. Anderson’s large central lounge with a fireplace and floor-to-ceiling windows is an ideal space for hall activities. Its backyard includes a volleyball area and a basketball half-court.

Jewett Hall is a traditional college residence, divided into six sections that each house approximately 25-30 students. Jewett has a large main lounge, section lounges with kitchens, and spacious recreation rooms that are always full of activity. Jewett’s attached dining hall and close proximity to academic buildings are additional benefits.

Lyman House, a mixed-class hall, is known for its old-fashioned charm and family-like atmosphere. The fireplace in its main lounge serves as a focal point for informal gatherings. Lyman houses 99 students primarily in two-room suites, so roommates can arrange shared sleeping and living rooms or each have separate spaces. Lyman, which is the oldest residence hall on campus, underwent a renovation in the late 1990s. It has its own small dining hall that attracts most of its residents for weekday lunches and dinners.

Prentiss Hall, with its brick facade and tall windows, is a stately women’s residence originally built in 1926 and completely renovated in the 1990s. Its features include attractive two-room suites, many study rooms, and an AV seminar room. Prentiss is centrally located and has an attached dining hall. Approximately 140 students live here, including first-year and upperclass independent women and four sections of sorority women.

North Hall is a mixed-class hall of 80 students located two blocks north of Ankeny Field. Many of its rooms are singles with private sinks, and some have the convenience of private bathrooms. North Hall is a spacious building with plenty of room for studying and socializing. The backyard of North features a duck pond and lots of space for volleyball and other outdoor activities.

Sophomore, Junior, and Senior Housing

College House, located on the edge of campus closest to downtown Walla Walla, is designed for apartment-style living. The 42 residents of College House are not required to purchase any meal plan; each apartment comes with a complete kitchen facility and comes furnished for two, three, four, or six students. This residence option provides the feeling of living off-campus without really being far away.

Douglas Hall is a favorite of sophomores, juniors and seniors who like a quiet home for studying. Rooms for approximately 70 students are divided into nine suites, each with its own kitchenette, lounge, laundry facilities, and bathrooms. Each suite houses only eight students; this arrangement fosters a more private lifestyle as well as close ties among the residents of each suite. In the center of Douglas is a large, open-air courtyard.

Marcus House combines independence and co-ed camaraderie in an upperclass living option for 27 students. Complete with a large kitchen, babbling creek, and basketball court, Marcus provides a unique housing experience for upperclass students. Marcus is located on the edge of campus, just across the street from the Reid Campus Center and only a few minutes’ walk from the downtown stores and cafés.

Tamarac House, an upperclass hall for people interested in the outdoors, sponsors programs and outings such as the Tamarac Outdoor Film Festival, climbing workshops, fly-fishing trips, and the Outdoor Iron Chef competition that introduce people within the campus community to the joys of the outdoors. Twenty-two students are housed in twelve apartments with a shared lounge. Students apply to live in Tamarac House, and are required to participate in programs and community living.

Interest Houses

Interest houses are an ideal option for sophomores, juniors, and seniors who would like to live with a small group of people who have a common interest and who want to share this interest with the campus community. Interest houses sponsor guest speakers, informal discussions, social gatherings, international dinners, and annual festivities such as the Hunger Banquet, Quarter Coffee Café, and Wordstock. In the language houses, everyone tries to speak only the respective language – French, German, Spanish or Japanese – and learn about the culture. The other interest houses are the Asian Studies House, Multi-Ethnic Center for Cultural Affairs (MECCA), Fine Arts House, Environmental House (Outhouse), Global Awareness House, Writing House, and Community Service House. Students apply to live in an interest house and are required to participate in programs and community living.

Provisions

THE COLLEGE DOES PROVIDE:

  • beds (extra-long twin, except Prentiss) with mattresses
  • mattress covers
  • chests with mirrors
  • desks
  • desk chairs
  • closets
  • mini blinds
  • bulletin boards
  • telephones
  • free laundry facilities

THE COLLEGE DOES NOT PROVIDE:

  • bedding
  • pillows
  • towels
  • study lamps (except Jewett) (note: Halogen lamps are not allowed)
  • trash and recycling receptacles
  • clothes hangers
  • irons
  • alarm clocks
  • fans
  • dishes
  • cooking utensils

Residence Hall Expectations

Whitman College encourages students to pursue the educational, social, and physical goals that are part of college life. In order to support the pursuit of these goals, the Residence Life program would like students to understand their rights as residents. However, each right carries with it a reciprocal responsibility on the part of the individual to safeguard that right for others. Each student living in on-campus housing must sign a Residence Hall Agreement. Read the agreement carefully; it details the rules and regulations governing residence halls.

Bon Appétit Food Service

Bon Appétit Management Company recognizes the great power and importance of food. Dining rooms are gathering places. Breaking bread together helps to create a sense of community and comfort. Recognizing their important role, they take great care to honor their position on the Whitman College campus. They create food that is alive with flavor and nutrition, prepared from scratch using authentic ingredients and do this in a socially responsible manner for the well-being of their guests, communities, and the environment.

They show this care in their operations every day by …

  • Cooking food from scratch using fresh seasonal ingredients.
  • Taking their role in the community seriously and making socially responsible purchasing decisions.
  • Serving great tasting, authentic and nutritious food that exceeds the expectations of their guests including vegetarian, vegan, and international diners.
  • Providing opportunities for all their employees, including student workers, to develop their potential and abilities.
  • Recognizing that every client they serve is unique and creating tailored food programs for each one.
  • Serving a wide variety of menu items at each meal, each day keeping things fresh, fun, and interesting – you won’t find a cycle menu at a Bon Appétit account.
  • Viewing their operations as onsite restaurants competing with local off campus restaurants – never resting on the idea of a “captive audience.”
  • Being a leader in their industry by working to create a more sustainable food system.

Students who live on campus at Whitman are required to choose from one of several meal plans, with the exception of those living in College House or juniors and seniors living in Marcus House. There are many reasons for this mandatory college policy. First, the meals eaten in community with fellow students are an important element in creating the overall residential experience that is a defining value of Whitman College. Second, residence halls are not equipped with facilities to allow students to safely store food and cook regular meals, nor are the residence halls in compliance with code for this purpose.

By choosing meal plans that coincide with lifestyle, the typical student will have more than enough meals and/or Flex Dollars each semester. Meals do not carry forward from one semester to the next, but Flex Dollars will carry forward from fall to spring semester, yet not to the following year. The plans are structured with the knowledge that the majority of students will not make it to all the meals, and many will not use all of their Flex Dollars. Students can choose a meal or snack somewhere on campus daily from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. All these options and flexibility provides lots of chances to use your meals and Flex Dollars as you choose.

When you move off campus:

Semester meal plans or Flex Dollars also are available to students who live off-campus or in a residence hall that does not require students to purchase a meal plan. Information regarding this can be obtained under meal plans on the Whitman Bon Appétit website www.cafebonappetit.com/whitman. Flex Dollars will roll over from fall to spring, but expire at the end of spring semester and have no value. See our website to learn more about the benefits of Flex Dollars. All the cafés and dining halls are open to customers paying cash. Students also can make a charge to their student account at any location as long as they have a functioning ID card in hand.

Café and Dining Hall Policies:

To operate efficiently, control costs, and reduce property loss as well as to ensure that there are always adequate dishware supplies available to students; removal of Whitman College dishes, cups, and silverware from the dining areas is not permitted. This includes students wanting to dine outside or take meals back to their rooms. The café manager may grant limited exceptions to this policy.

  • In order to encourage environmental conservation and control operating costs, disposable service-ware only is available at the cafés and not in the dining halls.
  • By bringing their own plate or container, students are allowed to take their meal out of the dining hall. Plates, bowls, mugs, silverware, etc. may not be removed from the dining hall.
  • Shoes and shirts are required for public health reasons as well as your own personal safety.
  • Students are expected to bus their own dishes and trash to make the table available to the next patron. Bon Appétit is responsible for keeping the tables and facilities clean and sanitary.
  • Students are encouraged to use the recycling receptacles where they are provided.

Sack lunches or dinners can be requested at the cashier station and are available at Prentiss or Jewett with 24-hour notice. Sack lunches are not available for delivery. They are permitted for work or class conflicts, and are generally not available if a student is going on a personal trip off campus.

Pack-Outs

Individual requests for pack-out foods for trips and events on or off campus are not covered by Whitman College meal plans. When students are away from campus they are expected to provide their own food or, in the case of some college activities, the organizing department provides for their dining needs. Ask a dining hall manager or cashier for a Pack-Out Info Sheet to learn more about the restrictions associated with using a dining hall meal for a college organized event, outing, or trip.

I.D. Cards

Your Whitman I.D. card is similar to a credit card and therefore very valuable to you. If it is misplaced or stolen other people could misuse your meals, Flex Dollars, or charge to your student account. Your I.D. card also allows generous access to campus buildings through the card locks. In order to help protect everyone’s personal safety you need to keep your card secure. To protect against the inappropriate use of your card, Bon Appétit will not allow you to use your card for meals or flex, or charge to your student account unless you have your card in hand. You are not permitted to use another person’s card; however, a friend with the appropriate meal plan could bring you as a guest on their card. Replacement I.D. cards are issued in the Security Office, Memorial 115. Please call (509) 527-5777 to arrange a time.

Living Off-Campus

Whitman-Owned Off-Campus Rentals

Whitman owns numerous rental properties contiguous to the campus which are available to Whitman students meeting the criteria for living off-campus. The tenants are selected using a lottery system, which takes place prior to Spring Break. The information on how the lottery works, what houses will be available, and how to apply will be posted on the Student listserv. Please contact the Business Trust Office at (509) 527-5745 with any questions.

Greek Life

History

Since 1913, Whitman College has offered students the unique opportunity of membership in a national fraternity or sorority. Currently, 35 percent of the student body is involved with one of the eight organizations. Members of the four sororities live together in Prentiss Hall, with each of the groups maintaining its own residential section. The four fraternities each have a house near campus for their members. The main focus of Greek life is intellectual development. However, being a member of a Greek organization also involves a variety of activities, including scholarship dinners, community service projects, dances, intramurals, social functions, and weekly meetings.

Joining a Greek organization starts with a process called “recruitment,’’ which begins during the second week of the fall semester. Recruitment consists of a series of casual activities designed to provide you with the opportunity to meet the members of each fraternity or sorority. Recruitment is an excellent way to meet other Whitman students, regardless of whether or not you pledge a Greek organization. Once you arrive on campus in the fall, the fraternities and sororities will host information sessions, and be available to answer all your questions about Greek life, recruitment, and pledging. For more information, please refer to the Greek Life website at whitman.edu/student-life/greek-life

Statement of Philosophy

Whitman College is a small, private, liberal arts institution with a long-standing history of academic excellence. The primary concern and the common ground of all members of the college community, past and present, is the development of the intellect of its students. It also is the purpose of the institution to enrich the personal lives of its students and enhance their ability to serve society. Membership in a fraternity or sorority provides unique opportunities for students to broaden their educational experiences while at the college. For 100 years, Greek organizations at Whitman College have offered students an option which enhances their personal lives as well as their formal education.

Fraternities and sororities operate in a manner that supports the values and mission of the college. Any additional goals they hold for themselves must be compatible with those of the institution, and contribute to an overall educational atmosphere. Whitman’s underlying philosophy toward rules and regulations is one of granting a maximum amount of individual freedom within a context of residential living, while at the same time demanding a high degree of personal responsibility in order to maintain a campus atmosphere which is conducive to teaching, studying, and learning.

The formal relationship of Greek organizations to the college is outlined in the Faculty Code. General governing principles include:

(a) the faculty authorizes the granting of a charter for the existence of a chapter on the campus and also may withdraw that authorization,

(b) the Dean of Students supervises all student organizations, including fraternities and sororities, and establishes regulations governing their activities, and

(c) while recognizing that some fraternities house students in premises not owned by the college, the activities that occur there are subject to the control of the college.

College Expectations for Greek Organizations

The college supports a Greek experience that is consistent with the mission and aims of Whitman College. In order to ensure that Greek organizations are supporting the mission of the college, maximizing their contribution to the personal development of their members and maintaining a sound organization, it is expected that each chapter will engage in the following activities:

  1. Scholarship – The fraternity or sorority environment shall be conducive to study and support of each member’s academic efforts. This is a serious concern of the college and is a necessary ingredient of a Greek organization’s total contribution. Programs should be planned around the academic needs of members (e.g., study skills, tutoring and discussion groups, writing workshops, career planning). Formal scholarship programs and activities are strongly encouraged in order that members might learn from each other.
  2. Rules and Regulations – It is expected that all fraternity and sorority members have knowledge of and comply with college regulations and state and local laws. Further, it is important that each chapter have clearly stated internal rules that are responsibly enforced by the officers. Problem areas may include alcohol and drug abuse, hazing, sexual harassment, physical assaults, property damage, and noise. Failure to correct such problems when they arise threatens the continued recognition of the chapter.
  3. Recruitment – The purpose of recruitment is to present the fraternities and sororities to Whitman College students. As such it should be open and honest and introduce prospective members to all phases of a chapter’s activities, and to the personal and financial responsibilities that pledgeship entails. Therefore a recruitment program which concentrates on parties is developing an inaccurate view of the Greek experience and is not preparing its prospective pledges for responsible membership.
  4. New Member Education – In order to complement a recruitment program it is mandatory that each fraternity and sorority have a positive new member program. A wide variety of educational and related activities are necessary if each new member is to become familiar with and accept both the business and friendship aspects of his or her chapter. Examples of such activities are learning chapter management skills, how to recruit, financial obligations, and academic expectations of the college and the chapter. Conversely, practices which continue because of tradition and are based on fun at the expense of others are not constructive. Hazing does not encourage respect for others and is prohibited at Whitman College. Hazing is defined as any activity of physical or psychological abuse that is degrading or humiliating to another person. See further description and explanation on page 75 under “Hazing.”
  5. Finances and Chapter Operations – Financial obligations of chapters and individuals within their chapters are expected to be met. College regulations require that each organization be free of debt contracted through its current operations by the end of each fiscal year (June 30). Failure to remove indebtedness within a year will result in withdrawal of recognition of the organization. In addition, it is expected that the physical premises of each fraternity or sorority will be maintained in good repair and that all hazards to health or safety will be routinely eliminated.
  6. Social Activities – Fraternities and sororities provide a variety of social activities which contribute to members’ personal development and serve an integrative function for the greater campus. In addition to hosting responsible parties each chapter should provide a variety of activities which will expand each student’s experiences and include interaction with faculty and administrators, other campus organizations, and citizens of Walla Walla. Promoting positive interpersonal relations between men and women should be important for all college events.
  7. External Relations – Members and chapters must be concerned about community relations. Because the college is located in a residential area of Walla Walla, extra care should be taken not only to respect neighbors’ rights (including those living in residence halls) to privacy and quiet, but also to cultivate positive relationships through visits, newsletters, meetings with Walla Walla organizations (such as the police, fire department, etc.) and invitations to appropriate activities. Excellent opportunities exist for Greek organizations to make a positive impact through community and college service projects. A critical area of concern is inter-Greek relations. Raids, theft, and property damage have no place in the ideals espoused by the Greek organizations. Recognizing that alumni are a source of strength for both the college and the fraternities and sororities, it is crucial that each chapter devotes considerable effort toward cultivating a continued involvement with its graduates.
  8. Programming – Fraternities and sororities should take advantage of the combination of college resources and their own close friendships to significantly enhance the personal and academic lives of their members. For example, workshops or discussion sessions on leadership, personal finances, career planning, and male/female awareness would be beneficial to all members.
  9. Evaluation – Each fraternity and sorority must annually review and evaluate whether or not it is realizing its full potential by serving its members and the college in the areas indicated in this document. Each November Greek organizations must complete an “Award of Excellence” Application. In the process of applying, fraternities and sororities must examine the year’s accomplishments and the congruence between stated philosophy, actual activities, and the mission of the college. A committee of faculty and staff will assess the applications and determine the award winners.