Learning through Involvement

The Associated Students of Whitman College (ASWC)


Every Whitman student is a member of the Associated Students of Whitman College (ASWC), our student government organization, which exists to support and advance student interests. ASWC sponsors clubs, activities, speakers, concerts, and student advocacy projects. As a member, you are welcome to participate in any ASWC supported event or program. In the next few pages, you will get a brief glance at many of the exciting opportunities ASWC has to offer.

The ASWC Congress

The ASWC Congress is an elected body made up of the Senate and Executive Council, with the president presiding over the chamber. The Senate is made up of four senators from each class. The Congress votes on issues concerning the bylaws that govern ASWC, budget allocations, student resolutions, media chairpersons, and committee member appointments. One of the best ways to get involved on campus is to be a senator or Executive Council officer. However, all meetings are open to the public and attending is an awesome way to find out what is taking place on campus.

The Executive Council

The Executive Council is elected annually to support campus organizations, manage the finances of student groups, and coordinate Senate meetings. The council is committed to developing and supporting an efficient system of student governance for Whitman College. Members share the goal of addressing relevant student issues, whether through the funding of clubs and organizations, or through the representation of ideas and concerns. Council members welcome input recommendations over the course of the next year, with respect to Congress itself and the general operation of your student government.

ASWC Activities

Whitman Events Board

The Whitman Events Board (WEB) is led by a chairperson and is comprised of student volunteers who want to plan great events for the campus community. This ASWC-funded group is responsible for planning a wide range of activities, including concerts, lectures, films, cultural events, fine arts activities, comedians and novelty acts, as well as any other event they can dream up. Past events at Whitman have included live bands such as Guster and Death Cab for Cutie; speakers such as Maya Angelou and Cornell West; and a range of unique programs, including Drive-In movies, Casino Nights, and themed dances. All events sponsored by this group are open to every student and, with few exceptions, are free of charge. This group also presents a fantastic opportunity to get involved on campus and contribute to campus programming. Volunteers are always welcome and appreciated.

ASWC Campus Events

In addition to the weekly events, there are three large events throughout the year that ASWC encourages students to attend. The Winterim Committee plans numerous events and workshops that take place at the beginning of the spring semester. In the month of April, the Choral Contest is a Whitman tradition that you won’t want to miss. Greek and independent groups compete for prizes for the best choral performance. Also, the campus and community celebrate spring with food, costumes, and games at the Renaissance Faire.

ASWC Media Organizations

The Pioneer

The Pioneer, better known as the Pio, is the free weekly student newspaper. The purpose of the Pio is to inform, entertain, and provide both a catalyst and a forum for expression within the Whitman community. If you have an opinion about an issue on campus or around the world, submit an article and you might find your name in the next Pio. The Pio hires new staff members at the beginning of each semester and encourages anyone to apply.

blue moon

blue moon, a yearly publication, accepts submissions of poetry, prose, and art, as well as digital media such as film, from the Whitman community. It is distributed in May. Prizes are awarded for the best entry in each category. Contact the blue moon editor (bluemoon@whitman.edu) or the ASWC Director of Communications to find out how you can get involved or to submit your work. It really is a work of art.


Published four times a year, quarterlife is a literary journal featuring poetry, short fiction, drama, creative nonfiction, analytic essays, and alternative journalism by Whitman students. Each issue is composed around a given theme that acts as both a spark for individual creativity and a thematic axis for the issue. If you’re interested in submitting work or helping publish quarterlife, contact quarterlife@whitman.edu for more information.


Recently resurrected after a long hiatus, Whitman’s yearbook, "Waiilatpu," provides an annual record of life at Whitman College. Created entirely by students, the yearbook provides an excellent opportunity for students interested in photography, design, and business practices to get involved and create a tangible artifact of the culture and environment at Whitman. To get involved, contact editor@whitmanyearbook.com.

KWCW 90.5 FM

KWCW, the college’s radio station, commonly referred to as “K-Dub,” is the college’s student and community run, free-format radio station that operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you want to be a DJ for a few hours a week and play your favorite music, broadcast the news or host a talk show, stop by the K-Dub office on the Reid Campus Center Mezzanine to find out how you can get involved.

Student Clubs and Organizations

There are more than 70 clubs and organizations on campus. To find out more about clubs and organizations, check out the Clubs and Organizations Directory, come up to the ASWC Office on the top floor of the Reid Campus Center, or check out the Student Activities Fair at the start of each semester.

Arts, Drama, Films, and Music


Coffeehouse, under the auspices of the Reid Campus Center, offers an opportunity for people of the Whitman community to enjoy a variety of artists as they perform in a relaxed, intimate atmosphere. The performances range from traditional American folk music to blues, jazz, and soul. Whitman students and staff are encouraged to perform. For more information, contact the Coffeehouse Manager at musicent@whitman.edu.


Harper Joy Theatre presents a season of eight fully mounted plays in addition to lunchbox and late-night theatre. Auditions are open and admission is free to all Whitman students. Varsity Nordic, the Whitman improvisation group, holds auditions each semester and performs frequently. The Little Theatre, Walla Walla University, and Walla Walla Community College also offer plays.


From drive-in movies on the Reid Campus Center lawn and the Cinema Arts series, to the Banff Mountain Film Festival and Tamarac House’s own Tamarac Outdoor Film Festival, chances are you’ll find a film that suits your interests. If you have questions or would like to request a film to be played on campus, please email cinema@whitman.edu.

Whitman College Chorale

The 100-voice Whitman College Chorale is open to all Whitman students through audition. The choir learns many exciting pieces during the year and sings one major campus concert each semester.

Whitman Jazz Ensembles

The Whitman jazz ensemble is open to all students through audition. This group performs a major concert each semester, and plays short programs for a variety of other functions.

Whitman Symphony Orchestra

Students from a broad cross-section of the campus community play for the Whitman Orchestra. Concerts are given in the fall and spring and often feature student soloists. The orchestra plays a musical or opera annually and periodically takes a tour.

Whitman Wind Ensemble

The ensemble is a concert organization, playing the best of modern and classical music for winds and percussion. One or more formal concerts are presented each semester. The class is open to all brass, woodwind, and percussion students by audition during the first week of classes.


Varsity Sports

Whitman competes in the Northwest Conference (NWC) and is a member of NCAA Division III. The college is represented by seven women’s and seven men’s varsity programs. Women compete in basketball, cross-country, golf, soccer, swimming, tennis and volleyball. Men compete in baseball, basketball, cross-country, golf, soccer, swimming and tennis.

In order to represent Whitman College in intercollegiate athletics, a student must be regularly enrolled in a full-time course load (at least 12 credit hours of class work) and shall have passed a total of 24 credits in the two semesters of attendance immediately preceding the semester of participation. A student must also maintain ‘Good Academic Standing’ at the college to be eligible for practice and competition.

‘Good Academic Standing’ requires at a minimum, semester GPA of 1.7 and a cumulative GPA, after two semesters, of 2.0. This is a minimum eligibility standard. The average GPA of Whitman College of student-athletes’ mirrors that of the student body at slightly above 3.3.

In addition, all students interested in participating as a varsity athlete must have appropriate paperwork, including a pre-participation physical, on record prior to participation. Additional regulations are available from the Director of Athletics.

Club Sports

Student-initiated opportunities to participate in a competitive recreational sport can be found in the Club Sports Program. In this past year, students participated in the following club sports: lacrosse, rugby, ultimate Frisbee, cycling, Taekwondo, fencing, softball, ice hockey, triathlon, skiing, snowboarding and volleyball. These teams compete with other schools and organizations.

Intramural Sports (IMs)

Many students take pride in participating in Whitman’s Intramural Program. Sports are offered in both the fall and spring, with fraternities, sororities, independents, and residence hall sections organizing teams of every kind. Intramural sports presently offered include flag football, basketball, soccer, ultimate Frisbee, volleyball, bowling, and softball. IMs are the perfect way to get involved and burn off some extra energy. The Intramural Committee schedules and oversees the intramural sports program. IM committee members are selected through an interview process.

Speech and Debate Program

The Speech and Debate Program is open to any student interested in politics, social issues, law, or better speaking skills. The team travels to tournaments in the Northwest and select tournaments throughout the nation. Students can participate in parliamentary debate and extemporaneous or impromptu speaking involving discussion of current events. Students with high school debate experience can participate in policy debate involving intensive research on one topic throughout the year.

Intramural Debate

The intramural debate program provides students with an opportunity to engage in discussions on contemporary issues on campus. Preparation and competition are kept to a minimum – the program encourages a comfortable atmosphere intended to help participants become better speakers. The intramural debate event is held once each semester and is open to any Whitman student.

For information about the Speech and Debate Program, contact Jim Hanson at hansonjb@whitman.edu or by phone at (509) 527-5499.

Expectations for Social Organizations

Student organizations and activities are subject to the supervision of the Dean of Students. Regulations for organizations and activities are established by the Dean of Students except in areas where authority is granted by the Board of Trustees or where legislation is specifically provided for by the faculty. Establishment of these regulations may be wholly or partly delegated to properly constituted student organizations or committees, subject to the approval of the Dean of Students.

Every organization must furnish a correct list of its officers and a copy of its constitution and bylaws to the faculty through the Student Activities Director, maintain a good standard of scholarship and conduct among its members, and have a college adviser appointed by the President of the college on recommendation of the Dean of Students or his designee and the student group concerned.

  • No meetings by social groups, clubs, or organizations, including the Associated Students, shall be held during the time of formal exercises scheduled by the college.
  • Membership in campus organizations shall be confined to students enrolled in the college except as the constitutions of the respective organizations may provide for honorary and other categories of membership.
  • All organized activities sponsored or directed by the college, the Associated Students, the social groups, service organizations, and any other groups of students and/or faculty should be registered on the Campus Events Office calendar in the Reid Campus Center no later than one week prior to the date of the event (x5251).
  • Social events and other activities held in off-campus locations will not normally be considered to be sponsored by the college. The responsibility for ensuring proper conduct at such events shall rest entirely with the group itself.
  • Social events and other activities conducted on the campus by student organizations are subject to college regulations concerning organizations and individual student behavior. Students or campus organizations that wish to use college-owned facilities for their social events or other organized activities must reserve the facilities with the appropriate office. The reservation must indicate who the responsible individual(s) will be in case of damage to college property or other problems stemming from the activity. In instances where college property or buildings are being used by students for such activities, the college reserves the right to require the presence of appropriate personnel such as firefighters, custodians, residence hall staff, security personnel, etc.
  • Students are encouraged to invite guests from all segments of the college community to their social events when appropriate.
  • Additional information on required procedures for the scheduling and holding of social events is available to everyone in the Reid Campus Center.
  • No publications may be issued by students, classes, or organizations in the name of the college without permission of the faculty or administration, as appropriate.
  • Each student organization must be free of debt contracted as a result of current operations by June 30 of each year. An organization in debt at that time will be automatically placed on probation for one year. During such probation the organization shall not contract further current indebtedness and shall remove all current financial obligations. If at the end of the year of probation the indebtedness is not removed, faculty authorization for the organization will be withdrawn.

College Committees

College committees are made up of faculty, administrators, and students. They investigate, discuss, and recommend college policy in a variety of areas. College committees are chaired by either faculty or administrators, but students play the extremely important role of voicing student needs and concerns. The ASWC Nominations Chair can tell you how to get involved in any of the committees. The Chair can be contacted at aswc_nominations@whitman.edu. Each year there are openings for students from every class. Getting on a committee is a great way to get your voice heard. ASWC appoints people to the following committees: Council on Student Affairs, Student Life Committee, General Studies Committee, Library Advisory Committee, Sustainability Committee, Student Technology Advisory Committee, and Bon Appetit Advisory Committee. Students are also appointed to seven of the standing Board of Trustee Committees.