Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 10
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Admissions Organizers Thaw Out Campus for Spring into Whitman

Photo by Eddie Buchko

Between lengthy lines for the usual breakfast burrito, a picture-perfect sign propped in Cleveland Commons and swarms of unfamiliar faces peeking into campus buildings, you may have noticed this year’s Spring into Whitman Admitted Students events the past two weekends. The admissions office holds tours throughout the year, with Fall into Whitman kicking off promotional events as verdant trees fade to orange and Spring into Whitman starting as soon as campus has shed the remnants of winter. The sessions, held April 5-6 and 13-14, saw a total of nearly 600 prospective students and their families following guided tours and wandering club fairs throughout campus.

Rainey Friedemann, Admissions Events Coordinator and head of Spring into Whitman, says that these two weekends present a massive undertaking for staff. From planning around turbulent spring weather, finding the right dates and organizing on-campus events, Friedemann and her team also coordinate volunteers and staff.

“Between tour guides, admission student workers, student panelists, participants in the activities fair and other volunteers, we had approximately 100 current students involved in some way for Spring into Whitman Day. We also had approximately 70 faculty and staff involved. It’s truly a team effort,” Friedemann said.

Organizing over 100 students and staff is a challenge in and of itself. Combined with other expected elements of event-planning, Friedemann and staff take each challenge as it presents itself to make these two weekends enjoyable for both prospective and enrolled students.

“We want to highlight the breadth of Whitman’s offerings without creating so many options that visitors feel overwhelmed by all the choices. We also want to align our offerings with the interests we know students have while also exposing them to facets of Whitman they didn’t know about previously,” Friedemann said.

Genevieve Vogel, a Senior Admissions Intern, agreed with Friedemann. As the organizer behind the club fair at both Spring into Whitman events, Vogel saw exhibiting student groups as beneficial to both touring and current students.

“[The event] was for admitted students but it’s also a great time to meet people from other clubs, think about collaboration or just hang out, so I think there’s still value in coming even if you’re not thrilled [by] talking with admitted students,” Vogel said.

Current students and staff work hard to organize events like Vogel’s club fair and maintain their efforts as important for visitors and Whitman College residents.

Tayva Anderson, who also works in the office as an Admissions Intern, highlights the importance of Spring into Whitman as one of the biggest events organized by the office, in part because of the opportunity to present campus to a variety of people.

“Admitted Students Day is really special because a lot of families are traveling from across the country, across the world sometimes even, really to get a full experience and to see what it’s like, so we try to make the day as special as it can be,” Anderson said.

For Anderson and other interns in the office, events like Spring into Whitman are uniquely reliant on student workers and their input.

Weekend before last, Anderson explained, several dorms and academic buildings were closed to tour groups due to miscommunication with security. Despite a rush of initial panic from the admissions team, student leaders maintained the day’s schedule by posting student workers and volunteers throughout campus to hold doors and welcome visiting students.

“Our tour-guides are pretty skilled at seeing something like that and pivoting. So, I think a lot of the families who went to Admitted Students Day wouldn’t have necessarily felt that road-block, even though I think in admissions we were all kind of internally screaming,” Anderson said.

Vogel agreed but added that event-planning continues through challenges like weather, locked doors and keeping it cool.

“Whenever you have an event, things just happen on the day-of. But that’s just the nature of planning events, you’ve got to kind of make it up as you go and be okay with that, while making sure that visiting students have a good time,” Vogel said.

Aside from the pressure and in-the-minute thinking required to plan Admitted Students Day, admissions staff and volunteers also reflect on the college’s promotional material.

“Admitted Students Day is a really great opportunity for the campus to see how Whitman College wants to market itself to admitted students. I think it’s actually a really cool moment if students pay attention to the different things going on and the ways that Whitman College wants itself to be perceived,” Anderson said.

For Anderson, events for prospective students offer a window into life at Whitman as well as a glimpse at how admissions paints student experience, an image that she encourages students to take a look at themselves.

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