The college provides students with learning opportunities through involvement and engagement. Students may participate in activities, such as the Outdoor Program, ASWC, academic-year internships, or Community Service projects, that enhance their leadership skills. The college supports an active campus social life, a comprehensive wellness program, and excellent recreational programs that include varsity competition and an extensive program of intramural sports. The campus programs are designed to intentionally foster a feeling of community with a climate of understanding and inclusion.
The offices of the Dean of Students and the Provost and Dean of the Faculty direct and coordinate a wide range of student services. The Dean of Students coordinates new-student orientation, premajor advising, housing and residential life, food services, counseling, health services, the Student Engagement Center, Intercultural Center, Academic Resource Center, Security, and the Reid Campus Center. The Provost and Dean of the Faculty coordinates major advising, postgraduate fellowship and scholarship programs, off-campus study, and athletics.
Residence halls and houses are designed to assist students to succeed academically and to develop personally. Residential living is an integral part of the Whitman educational experience. All single undergraduate students who are under 21 years of age at the start of each semester and have not yet lived on campus for four semesters are required to live on campus. No designated family housing is available on campus.
Students may select from a variety of residences. With the exception of Prentiss Hall, all residential facilities are coeducational. Three residence halls are clustered on the south side of the campus: Anderson Hall, for 138 students; William O. Douglas Hall, for 70 students in suites of eight students each; and Prentiss Hall, for 145 women including members of Whitman’s four national sororities as well as women not affiliated with a sorority, housed in two-room suites. College House provides apartment-style living with kitchen facilities for 37 students. Jewett Hall houses 167 students, Lyman House is a traditional hall with two-room suites for 99 students, and Marcus House provides space for 27 students with mostly single rooms. North Hall houses 70 students, mostly with single and double rooms. Tamarac House offers apartment-style housing and outdoor activities.
Eleven interest houses offer unique learning opportunities. Language houses, such as French, Japanese, Spanish, and German, further the academic and cultural interests of students studying a foreign language. Approximately six to nine students as well as a Native Speaker who works in the language department reside in each house. Other interest houses are the Multi-Ethnic Center for Cultural Awareness (MECCA), which fosters cross-cultural communication and understanding; the Environmental House, focusing on environmental and ecological issues; the Fine Arts House, which promotes programs emphasizing studio, theatrical, and musical arts; the Global Awareness House, which focuses on world issues such as hunger, population, and human rights; the Asian Studies House, which promotes understanding of Asian culture and issues; and the Writing House, which provides resources to encourage the growth of writing as a discipline; and the Community Service House encourages discussions of service issues among students and the Whitman community and includes a community service requirement.
Four national fraternities maintain chapter houses near the campus. Each has its own dining, sleeping, study, and recreational facilities.
Just as it is important to live on campus, it is equally important to eat on campus. Eating on campus helps to integrate the student into the campus, provides the opportunity for sections to spend time together, contributes to community within the halls, and allows further opportunity for students to interact with faculty outside the classroom. The college operates three dining halls, located in Jewett, Lyman, and Prentiss halls. Students who live in the residence halls are required to subscribe to a board plan (see exceptions under “Board” in the Charges section). Dinners are delivered to the interest houses Monday-Thursday for communal family-style dining. Students living off-campus are encouraged to eat noon meals in college dining halls and may subscribe to one of several board plans.
While it is difficult for the college to provide highly specialized diets in the dining halls, Bon Appétit (the college’s food service provider) as well as the Health Center will work with students who have dietary concerns. There are vegetarian and vegan alternatives at every meal. Residents of the college-owned residences may eat in any of the dining halls, while residents of the fraternities normally subscribe to their own dining services.