Student Activities

Cocurricular activities augment classroom experiences, often providing students the chance to apply some portion of their theoretical studies to practical, realistic work and laboratory situations. The college encourages students to create new activities that enhance the life of the campus.

Musically inclined students perform with the College Wind Ensemble, Chamber Orchestra, Chorale, and, by audition, the Walla Walla Symphony Orchestra; still others perform in solo or small group recitals. Students need not major in theatre to perform or work backstage at Whitman’s Harper Joy Theatre, nor must they major in English to submit items for publication in blue moon, the Whitman literary magazine. There are opportunities for work, including some paid employment, on The Pioneer, the student weekly newspaper. Students interested in engaging in political argument and in speaking in general may join Whitman’s outstanding speech and debate program, which has been ranked among the best in the nation.

Reid Campus Center

The Reid Campus Center serves as a community center for all members of the college — students, faculty, staff, alumni, and guests. To support the residential nature of the Whitman campus, the Reid Campus Center meets many day-to-day needs through an organization of professional staff, student employees, student volunteers, and committees.

The Reid Campus Center sponsors numerous programs including musical performances in the Coffeehouse, a Life Skills series, an Arts & Crafts fair and much more.

Resources in the Reid Campus Center include the Bookstore, Conferences and Events Office, Fellowships and Grants, Greek Life, Intercultural Center, New Student Orientation, Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, Outdoor Program, Post Office, Student Activities Office, Student Engagement Center (America Reads/Counts, Career Development, Community Service, Internships), and Whitman Café. Other facilities and services include meeting-and-dining rooms, a lounge, an art gallery, an ATM, vending machines, refrigerator rentals, campus lost-and-found, sign-ups for the chartered holiday bus service, bulletin boards for advertising and notices, and outdoor equipment rental. The Reid Campus Center houses the Associated Students of Whitman College (ASWC), the Whitman Events Board (WEB), The Pioneer newspaper, the blue moon (art and literary journal), KWCW-FM student-operated radio station, the Waiilatpu (yearbook), and quarterlife (quarterly literary journal).

Outdoor Program

Mission Statement: The Outdoor Program (OP) fosters personal growth, facilitates learning and creates recreational opportunities through leadership development, skills training and safe, environmentally sound trips in a supportive community.

The Outdoor Program (OP) accomplishes its mission by assisting people in outdoor pursuits while also managing risks so as to offer safe and rewarding recreational experiences. Furthermore, the OP provides quality rental equipment in the fields of hiking, backpacking, climbing, flat-water and whitewater kayaking, rafting, canoeing, cross country skiing, snow shoeing, telemark and alpine touring skiing. Activities cater to beginner and intermediate skill levels. On campus the OP organizes visiting speakers, instructional seminars, film showings, and other special events. The annual Banff Mountain Film Festival and Back country Film Festival are examples of some of the presentations available. The OP also oversees the Whitman climbing center and the first-year preorientation “Scrambles” wilderness trip program. Outdoor Program activities are open to anyone at any time.

Another important function of the Outdoor Program is to teach outdoor skills, both elementary and advanced, in such areas as risk management, wilderness first aid, kayaking, climbing, skiing, canoeing, mountaineering, and outdoor leadership. The program is a resource for those interested in planning their own trips, exploring the outdoors surrounding Walla Walla, purchasing equipment, or obtaining instruction. Magazines, books, maps, literature on recreational programs, and outdoor jobs are on file at the OP Rental Shop.

The Outdoor Program is not a club. There are no dues; anyone, regardless of ability or skill level, may participate. Through the Outdoor Program, all students interested in noncompetitive, nonmotorized pursuits may share adventures.

The Outdoor Program just recently was granted the prestigious David J Webb program Excellence award issued by the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education. An AORE press release stated Whitman College is an outstanding example and embodiment of AORE values. The Whitman College Outdoor Program is an incredible teaching program based in Walla Walla, WA. They are best known for their freshman orientation program and climbing center, but also have strong sea kayaking, backpacking and whitewater programs. The program has been a part of the school for over 3 decades. Whitman College Outdoor Program’s freshman orientation is second to none, as their trips serve over half of the incoming freshman class. They also work closely and in collaboration with academic departments to provide general trips and opportunities for the campus at large, and to encourage involvement and dedication to betterment and growth of the [outdoor recreation] industry.”

Whitman Events Board

The Whitman Events Board (WEB) is an ASWC-sponsored student group dedicated to bringing a balanced program of events to campus. WEB provides and supports a wide array of educational and entertaining events by maintaining contacts with artists and booking agencies, as well as generating original student-led programs. It is responsible for sponsoring the Drive-In Movie, Life Boat, films, concerts, speakers, Casino Night, and much more! To find out more call 509-522-4436 or email web@whitman.edu.

Intercollegiate and Intramural Athletics

Whitman College affirms the classical ideal that physical fitness complements intellectual development. Whitman’s programs of sport studies, recreation and athletics are designed to contribute to the liberal education of our students as they engage their minds and bodies in vigorous fitness, wellness, and competitive activity.

Whitman supports athletics for two reasons: 1) as they train and strive to excel, student-athletes complement and strengthen the education they are pursuing; and 2) athletics contributes in unique ways to campus life and fosters a strong sense of community.

To achieve these ends, the college provides the resources to enable teams and individuals to compete effectively in the NCAA Division III, and to enable those individuals and teams who qualify to compete at regional and national levels.

The athletics program at Whitman College is designed to support:

  • the overall institutional mission of the college;
  • the principles of fair play and amateur athletics, as defined by NCAA legislation;
  • the overall academic success of student-athletes;
  • the overall health and welfare of student-athletes;
  • the principle of equal access to athletic opportunities by men and women.

Whitman holds membership in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (Division III) and the Northwest Conference (NWC). The college fields men’s and women’s teams in basketball, swimming, tennis, soccer, cross country, and golf. Women compete in volleyball, and men in baseball. The NCAA III does not permit athletic scholarships; however, all students may apply for financial aid and academic scholarships.

Department of sport studies, recreation and athletics staff members supervise intramural programs; about 70 percent of Whitman students take part in such intramural sports as flag football, basketball, soccer, volleyball, tennis, softball, and ultimate Frisbee. The college also sponsors several club sports programs, including rugby, lacrosse, softball, ultimate Frisbee, and cycling. For a complete and updated list of club and intramural opportunities please see www.whitman.edu/student-life/club-sports-and-intramurals.

Sherwood Athletic Center, the main athletic complex, has been completely renovated as of August 2009. It features a 1,400-seat gymnasium, a training room, a strength and conditioning room, a practice gym, batting cages, racquetball and squash courts, dance studios, and a 7,000- square-foot indoor climbing wall.

The college has four indoor tennis courts in the Bratton Tennis Center as well as six outdoor courts.

Baker Ferguson Fitness Center offers a 10,000-square-foot fitness center, and the Paul and Louise Harvey Aquatic Center features a 30-meter swimming pool.

Baseball games take place at 3,000-seat Borleske Stadium. The golf team practices at 18-hole Memorial Golf Course, the Walla Walla Country Club, and Wine Valley Golf Club. The Whitman Athletic Complex hosts the men’s and women’s soccer teams in addition to a variety of club and intramural competitions.

Student Organizations

Most groups and organizations are student-run; nearly all involve students in planning and carrying out their programs. The largest of the self-governing groups is the Associated Students of Whitman College (ASWC), of which every student is a member. ASWC conducts its affairs through an elected Executive Council and student Senate. In addition to advocating for student needs and planning all-campus activities and programs, ASWC is responsible for oversight and budget allocations for the Whitman Events Board, The Pioneer weekly newspaper, radio station KWCW-FM, and more than 50 student clubs and media groups.

Campus clubs focus on specific interests such as sports, recreation, health, music, leadership, women’s programs, and religious interests. Information on student organizations can be found at www.whitman.edu/student-life/student-activities/clubs-and-organizations-directory.

Greek Life

Whitman’s fraternities and sororities provide a comprehensive program for student involvement, growth, and friendship. Within each Greek organization, members find academic assistance, personal support, community service, alumni connections, and social opportunities.

All eight Greek organizations at Whitman have well-established scholarship programs, incorporating one-on-one tutoring, study tables, and seminars. Whitman’s Greek groups are actively involved in local and national community service efforts, supporting such organizations as the SOS Clinic, Helpline, Humane Society, Reading is Fundamental, Service for Sight, Children’s Home Society, and Court Appointed Special Advocates. As each self-governed Greek group makes decisions, ranging from creating budgets to implementing social policies, the Greek system is an excellent vehicle for learning and displaying leadership skills.

The four national sororities reside in Prentiss Hall, where each group maintains its own section, complete with a chapter room and a lounge. Each of the four fraternities has a house on the edge of campus, where members reside.