Whitman Student Consulting Corps
Started in August 2019, the Whitman Student Consulting Corps is a three-year pilot program funded by a Core Grant from the Sherwood Trust that brings benefits to both local nonprofits and Whitman students. The basic goal of the corps is to provide high-level, broad-based management consulting to nonprofit organizations in the Walla Walla area.
Connecting Whitman College students and the local community, the Whitman Student Consulting Corps provides individualized, free of charge management consulting to the non-profit organizations of the Walla Walla Valley.
What is the Whitman Student Consulting Corps?
Established in 2019, the Whitman College Student Consulting Corps is a program operating through Whitman’s Student Engagement Center. The Consulting Corps, generously funded by the Sherwood Trust, creates paid Student Consultant positions which give current Whitman students real-life experience in the growing field of management consulting while benefiting nonprofits of the Walla Walla community.
Each Student Consultant belongs to a consulting team along with our Community Consulting Specialist, Shelly Rasmussen, that works with a nonprofit organization. The local organizations represent sectors in the community ranging from healthcare to education to the arts. The WSCC partnered with the Seattle based nonprofit consulting firm, 501 Commons, to receive training in facilitating the 501Commons Pathways Program, which is a self-assessment based management consulting program. Each Consulting team analyzes an organization’s responses to the self assessment, discovers organizational priorities that the group would like to receive help with, and researches and offers recommendations for those areas. At the end of the process, the Consulting teams will present the recommendations and resources to the organization’s lead and key stakeholders.
501 Commons and the Pathways Program
501 Commons is a Seattle based consulting firm founded in 1989 that works with nonprofits primarily in the Pacific Northwest. Each year they work with over 1000 non-profits, offering a wide range of services to strengthen these non-profits and the communities they work in. In partnering with 501 Commons, the Consulting Corps has learned how to administer one such service, the Pathways Program.
In the words of 501 Commons:
“Pathways is like a personal trainer for your organization. You will receive guidance on what you’re doing well, what you need to improve on, and what practical steps can be taken to advance your ability to serve your mission. Pathways provides a short consultation - with consultants that have nonprofit expertise - to help you capture the benefits of using our Five Elements of a Healthy Nonprofit Self-Assessment.”— 501 Commons Website
How to contact us:
Shelly Rasmussen, Community Consulting Specialist
Major(s): Mathematics & Computer Science
Organization: Catholic Charities of Walla Walla
I wanted to be a student consultant with the Whitman Student Consulting Corps because I would like to have more engagement with the Walla Walla community, and obtain practical experience in consulting. As a student consultant, I enjoy collaborating with our community consultant specialist Shelly Rasmussen to build a strong relationship with our clients. I hope to develop the skills of synthesizing problems, facilitating meetings and developing practical recommendations. As a Whitman student, I want to use my knowledge ot contribute to the development of our local community.
Our team is working with Catholic Charities of Walla Walla, an organization that is dedicated to serving the rapidly developing community and building a place to promote life and dignity for all. Recently, Catholic Charities of Walla Walla opened The LOFT to provide emergency shelter and family reunification services to homeless youth aged 12–18. It is very exciting for me to work with them to help them to promote their values.
Name: Allie McCann
Major(s): Politics & French
Organization: Walla Walla Public Schools 21st Century Community Learning Centers
I applied to be a student consultant with the Whitman Consulting Corps because I was interested in deepening my engagement in the greater Walla Walla community and exploring the field of consulting as a potential career path. Through this experience, I hope to gain a fruitful connection with my community partner and learn skills associated with consulting that will prepare for life after Whitman, regardless of what field I go into.
My organization, 21st Century, provides academic enrichment opportunities in an after school program that primarily serves children who are on Free and Reduced Lunch. I am especially excited to work with 21st Century because I had already come into contact with this amazing program before starting at WSCC and I thought it was an extremely important program for the Walla Walla community so I am excited to help support their work!
Organization: Trilogy Recovery Community
During my first couple of years at Whitman College, I didn't know I would be an Economics major. However, I knew I wanted to be involved in more than Whitman--I wanted to “pop the bubble” and be part of Walla Walla as well. In my first year, I was part of various committees, including the SEC Dimensionality Advisory Group, and was a Special Project intern for the SEC where I got to inform myself of the complicated issues and workings of the community. One summer, I interned with the Commitment to Community, a grass-roots nonprofit in Walla Walla. Moving forward, I wanted to do something directly linked to my major but that would still allow for involvement in the larger community. I found the Whitman Student Consulting Corps to be the perfect fit.
While being introduced to the work of a consultant, I work with a nonprofit in Walla Walla called Trilogy Recovery Community. Trilogy helps individuals struggling with addiction and their families through the recovery process. They provide services to people of all ages but have a special focus on the youth of the community. I find it praiseworthy and appreciate how Trilogy teams up with other nonprofit organizations to provide their clients with the best resources. I am so excited to continue working with them and see what lies ahead as a member of WSCC!
Organization: The Health Center
When I saw the WSCC position appear on Handshake I was convinced it was the perfect job for my senior year. A friend had gotten me excited about pursuing consulting after college, so when I saw that Whitman was starting a student consulting program that worked with real non-profit clients I couldn’t apply fast enough.
When I learned my client was The Health Center I felt truly excited to get to work! As I learned more about the organization, I saw how simple but effective their mission is: The Health Center makes a direct impact in many Walla Walla Public School students lives by providing mental and medical care right at school. This has led to a dramatic increase in graduation rates and, more importantly, has really made many students’ lives better. My goal for this project is to be a beneficial asset to the organization so they can continue to improve the wellbeing of students.
Major(s): Math and Economics
Organization: The Star Project
I applied to be a student consultant because I really wanted to continue working in the Walla Walla community. I tutor for the GEAR UP program at Walla Walla High School, and I’m excited to continue my community involvement through the consulting position as well as learn more of the intricacies of both consulting and non-profits.
The STAR Project was the recipient of the 2018 Mx. Whitman Fundraiser put on annually by Kappa Kappa Gamma which I am involved with. I learned more about the incarceration system and how it affects the local area during the fundraiser, but I hope to learn more as I work with the STAR Project throughout this process.
When I first heard about the newly established WSCC, I thought it was the perfect combination of my interests in developing meaningful relationships with the Walla Walla community and a hands-on exploration into what I consider the most intriguing aspect of a career in consulting—the opportunity to make a difference by applying critical thinking skills to real-life solutions.
I’m excited to work with Helpline Walla Walla, a wonderful multi-faceted organization that serves to assist people in meeting their basic needs through various services in order to prevent homelessness and achieve stability; I’m consistently impressed by the number of services Helpline manages to offer and look forward to helping them thrive in their endeavors.