Vol. CLIII, Issue 10
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Family Weekend Unveils Campus and Student Opportunities

Family weekend took place Oct. 20-22, bringing campus alive with the hustle and bustle of guests from across the world. During this time, families had the opportunity to explore the campus and its resources, tour the residence halls, get to know interest houses, visit fraternities and sororities or survey off-campus houses and apartments. Families spent time spent exploring Walla Walla, and got involved in different activities and events that created an unforgettable experience, centering Whitman’s connection to Walla Walla at large.

Kimberly Rolfe and Noah Leavitt, co-directors of the Career and Community Engagement Center (CCEC), both participated in Family Weekend to share the CCEC’s role with families during an open house on Saturday, Oct. 21. 

“For some family members for whom Whitman College is a new kind of educational institution, it can be very informative to see how students can go in so many different kinds of directions after finishing and how the world is open to them because of the broad learning that they get here,” Leavitt said. 

Not knowing what the next step after college is a common concern for both students and parents. Planning with the CCEC to better understand what these steps might look like can be critical so both parties can get a grasp of how best to pursue future goals and dreams. 

“The most important thing for almost everybody’s future life is the ability to learn, unlearn [and] relearn, and that’s what Whitman teaches students what to do,” Leavitt said. 

Rolfe also talked to family members about how it is not necessary for students to know exactly what they have to ask. Rather, the CCEC and other on-campus organizations are available to help students figure out what questions they should be thinking about.

Family weekend was the perfect opportunity for the CCEC to connect students to the broader campus community and advertise those resources to Whitties and their families.

“One of the things that is most important for students and their families to understand is that, in working with our office, the students are really in the driver’s seat. They get to decide what they are going to do and how they are going to do it, and what we do is open up their understanding of all of those possibilities,” Rolfe said. 

The CCEC provides resources that have the potential to serve as pieces of a student’s support system, both during their time at Whitman and as alumni. Having conversations about the resources they provide can be a great relief for parents, who through Family Weekend events, got to understand CCEC as one more thing that Whitman has to offer to help their students succeed. 

“We open up possibilities for students and allow them to think about how they might go out into the world,” Rolfe said. 

Across campus that same day, first-year Nathan Nemali’s grandmother and mother, Vanita Nemali and Kamu Nemali, both attended the Off Campus Studies presentation.

“We were very interested in seeing how youngsters are motivated to do so many different things other than academics. Back in India, college is predominantly about education. Instead, in Whitman you are doing so much, interacting with everybody,” Kamu Nemali said. 

Listening to other students’ testimony about their different experiences abroad and learning more about what Whitman is doing for the students proved to be valuable for families who have a student curious about exploring Off Campus Studies. 

“We came to this session because, coming from a different culture, we see a lot of value in thriving in different environments. I would love for my son to have that ability to feel like he can adjust anywhere,” Vanita Nemali said. 

The study abroad session shared with its audience the value of Whitman’s exploration of many different places and cultures around the world, demonstrating how the family weekend’s focus expanded beyond the boundaries of Whitman’s physical campus and catching up with students. 

Among the variety of events that Whitman hosted during this past weekend, there were activities like the annual pumpkin carving, a walk in the trails at Wallula Gap with the president, a performance of the Thanksgiving play by Larissa FastHorse, the women’s volleyball game against Pacific University and many more. 

Family Weekend serves as an opportunity for students who live on Whitman’s campus every day to share a bit of their lives with their loved ones who live elsewhere. The events hosted by campus organizations like the CCEC and OCS help families become more involved in their students’ time here to bridge the distance between home and school.

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