Being a Whittie at WWU


Photo by Andrew Shwartz

Walla Walla University, which allows its students to fly planes if they want to, is a nice place to be. Here is their motto:


Excellence in thought.

Generosity in service.

Beauty in expression.

Faith in God.


Lauren Lewis tried to show me the bell atop their admin/philosophy/history building. It is tradition, I gleaned, for seniors to sign the bell, or the bell-access room (or something). We gained the bell-access room, but the student/employee who took us there, who was a friend of Lauren’s, could get us no further.

Photo by Andrew Shwartz
Photo by Andrew Shwartz

Indeed, I had never yet made the brief trek across Walla Walla to College Place to visit Walla Walla University. The school’s mirror each other in size – WWU is slightly bigger. Both have nice collegiate campuses.  According to the Whitman course catalog, there even exists a reciprocal program, through which students at either school may take a class at the other. Although when I tried to take advantage last year in the hope that I might be given my wings to fly, my emails to the Whitman contact went unanswered.

Lauren Lewis is the editor of the Pioneer’s counterpart, “The Collegian.” She met me at The Atlas, a charming house-turned cozy café, run by the student association (Whitman should take note). I ordered a cappuccino.

Lauren, who will hopefully be going to law school next year, introduced me to some café homies. All knew all. The Atlas felt like it could have been a recurring setting in a sitcom. Lauren asked her strapping friend Carl if he had classes to which he might take me that morning, but his philosophy class had a test. Dang.


So here’s the question: Do you believe in God?

Do you?

What’s your God like?

What does she eat?

When does she plan to return?

Do you got faith?


I got faith.


That Walla Walla University is denominational – Seventh-Day-Adventist – is illuminated by its every crevice, building and institution in both a novel and interesting angle if you’re a perverse weirdo like me whose mind superimposes the fact on all observations like it’s a dumb instagram filter. Certainly the quality is not defining. I think it’s common that my ilk in the secular ranges of society treat a religious affiliation as way more definitional than is probably right. “The Collegian” is hella funny, and everyone on campus is super chill, and the President and the Chaplain are both down enough to feature in charmingly weird and surprisingly high quality student video productions.

And so I posit with zero reservation that Walla Walla University and Whitman College should kick it more, and share wisdom and merry cheer. Some of the good things I learned about Walla Walla University:

It has a masters program, and multiple satellite schools.

Its students may, with the money from their tuition, rent and fly one of the school Cessnas on a journey. For example, one might go to Canada.

The auto shop lets students just bring in their cars to be worked on.

They have a preschool in the psych building, which they use to observe children.

The grounds crew is totally student-staffed.


I had a good time at Walla Walla University. Great vibes. Pretty campus. I hope Walla Walla University students are made to feel so welcome when they come visit Whitman.