Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 10
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Switch: Whitman through a WWC student’s eye

This story starts with chapel. [For all the Whitties reading this article, chapel is a weekly worship service that all Walla Walla College (now Walla Walla University) students are required to attend]. I was sitting behind my friend Jason Friedrich and a girl I did not recognize: which was odd because I pride myself on being at least familiar with most the faces on WWC’s campus. I proceeded to introduce myself and found out that her name was Elsbeth Otto, a sophomore Whitman College student who swapped places with a WWC college student for the day. The only problem was that the WWC student was not able to “swap” on Tuesday so they were looking for another volunteer on Thursday. Enter me. So, on Thursday of that week, I spent the day attending classes, having lunch and touring the Whitman campus with Elsbeth.

Notes and Musing From My Day at Whitman:
7 a.m.: Wake-up. Consider what I’m going to wear to Whitman so I don’t stick out like a sore thumb. Conclude casual outfit with Chacos and hemp jewelry is the best option.

8 a.m.: Take a shower and get dressed. Realize I cannot find my Chacos. Call mom. Left Chacos at home. Also, do not own any hemp jewelry. Crap.

8:45 a.m.: Meet Elsbeth in front of Whitman library. Even though I dressed very casual, I still feel overdressed compared to her. Plus, she still looks cute: how do they do that?

9 a.m.: Attend microeconomics with Professor Crouter. Half of the students in this class look like they just rolled out of bed and are un-showered. The professor talks very fast, and I completely lose track of the discussion when the words “pareto efficiency” and “isoquant” start being used (although she mentions “rise over run,” which I know). I should mention here that Elsbeth was an econ. major (thus microeconomics class) but switched her major to humanities/environmental studies last week. I personally think this is an excellent decision.
The biggest impression I came away with from my day at Whitman is that both colleges have a lot to offer each other and the community. If a closer relationship is developed and fostered, both institutions could learn great things.

10 a.m.: I think Elsbeth feels sorry for me, so we find a literature class to observe. Even better, it’s Shakespeare! About 20 students are situated in a large circle ready to discuss “The Tempest.” This is exciting because first of all I know what they are talking about, and second I really like “The Tempest.” The professor is interesting, asks questions that prompts discussion and most of the students either comment about the text or engage in discussion with the professor.

Because this is Whitman the week before finals, the students participate in teacher evaluations that are completely different than our written forms. In this particular class, another English professor sits in on the class and evaluates the teaching professor. For the last 10 minutes of class, the teaching professor leaves and the class gives feedback about the professor’s strengths and weaknesses. I thought this was a more efficient and effective way of teacher evaluation than our hand-written forms.

11 a.m.: Attend econ. statistics class. There are only six students present and the professor looks like a hippie version of our own history teacher, Terrie Gottschall.
The class concludes with the professor reminding everyone that lab on Friday will include shooting craps and pizza. On the way out I hear a student joke about bringing Guinness (that’s beer for all you WWC students) to drink with his pizza. My initial reaction is disbelief that he said it out loud, but then I remember I’m at Whitman.
Also, the professor reminds students as they walk out the door that they can fill out teacher evaluation forms online. That’s a novel idea.

Noon: Elsbeth and I go to the freshman cafeteria to eat lunch. The food was pretty good: the salad bar had five different lettuce options, Starbucks coffee in the beverage line and tuna melts for entrees. Elsbeth mentioned she ate in our cafeteria and said honestly, “Yeah, our food is better than yours.” I won’t argue with her.
We eat outside, and Elsbeth knows almost everyone that walks by. We talk about our college experience, and I tell her about Adventism’s views on everything from drinking to keeping the Sabbath; she tells me about her own spiritual background. We laugh about semi-scandalous stories from church camp growing up.

1 p.m.: I go back to WWC to attend class and work for a few hours.

5:30 p.m.: I meet Elsbeth at her apartment for supper. Elsbeth’s apartment is located in the Tamarac house: a huge building subdivided into smaller apartments. Elsbeth shares her apartment with a boy (holy crap): she sleeps in the bedroom and he sleeps in the closet. At Whitman, you can choose to join the greek system, but Tamarac house is not a fraternity or a sorority. Both males and females live in the building.

The students that reside in the Tamarac house meet for a potluck-style supper once a week. They had all congregated in the basement by the time I arrive but are friendly and ask a lot of personal questions while we eat. I overhear people talking about working at the organic farm in College Place and the music they’ve listened to in their rock ‘n’ roll class.

6 p.m.: Best idea yet: Elsbeth suggests we tour a frat house. I try to not look overly excited. We walk to the TKE (Tau Kappa Epsilon) house on Issacs. The house is a huge, semi-brick building that looks more like a trashy mansion than a fraternity. A couch sits on the porch, along with a dirty plate and an old slice of pizza. The recreational room is trashed: complete with broken down recliners and dirty carpet. We pass the bathroom on our way up the stairs and I can’t help but be grateful that I’m a girl. The upstairs is painted in great murals and the rooms that have their doors open are reasonably decorated and pretty neat. We walk down the hall and I notice that the walls are covered with what look like glory lists complete with alcoholic beverages and girls name. This is like something out of a movie!

7 p.m.: Elsbeth and I say goodbye.

Here’s the thing: Whitman has a lot of grass, but not all of it is greener than ours. The biggest impression I came away with from my day at Whitman is that both colleges have a lot to offer each other and the community. If a closer relationship is developed and fostered, both institutions could learn great things.

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