Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 4
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Incoming first-years offered Scrambles alternative

Credit: Johnson
Credit: Johnson

We all remember The May Mailing. Chock full of papers to be examined and obsessed over. That stack of paper was our connection to our future, to the unknown world of college and the potential experiences that lay ahead of us.

Some incoming first-years study the Scramble packet intently, choosing the trip they want to participate in. There are others of course, who look at the booklet with hesitation, nervous about their lack of “outdoorsiness” but still eager to meet students prior to opening week.

This year, incoming first-years will be offered an alternative pre-orientation trip, focused not on outdoor adventure but instead on community service.

The Summer Community OutReach Excursions (SCOREs) programs will pilot this summer. There are two separate trips, allowing only 16 first-years to participate. In comparison, 16 Scrambles will run this summer, with space for almost 140 incoming first-years. Lina Menard, the coordinator of the Center for Community Service (CCS), hopes that the program will grow in size in the future.

“I look forward to expanding the program if there is interest and demand for it” said Menard.

Due to the limited capacity of the program, interested incoming students will need to submit applications by July 1. After sending in their application, students will be selected by a random lottery. Applications for current Whitman students interested in leading summer SCOREs were due on May 1. Four applicants will be chosen in total, with two leaders per trip. Selected leaders will be notified by Reading Day, May 13.

It’s difficult to gauge interest for the SCOREs among incoming students because applications are not yet available, but interest has been high among current Whitman students hoping to run a SCORE this summer. Menard was surprised at the large number of students that applied to lead SCOREs.  

“We hope that if we have the same level of interest among incoming students as we do among leaders the program will be able to grow in the future,” said Menard.

This year, CCS will offer two SCOREs, both running from August 21-26. Both trips will have a local emphasis, since one purpose of SCORE is to introduce first-years to the greater Walla Walla community. There are differences between the two trips, though: one group will focus on issues related to food and the other will examine issues related to housing.  

“Both food and shelter are basic needs that we all have before we can do other things. So we want to look at those two issues in the Walla Walla valley and look at the way that they’re being addressed,” said Menard.  

Participants on the Food SCORE will examine issues related to food and hunger. Trip members will spend three mornings working at nearby Welcome Table Farm and then two mornings at West End Farm. In the afternoons, participants will visit local organizations such as the soup kitchen, the Farmers’ Market, the food bank and the food co-op.

Participants in the Housing SCORE will explore topics of housing and homelessness. Trip members will spend the first three mornings working with Habitat for Humanity and the next two mornings working at Helpline, a women’s shelter in Walla Walla. In the afternoons, participants will meet with local organizations that provide housing and housing information for people in need.

Whitman isn’t the first school to integrate community service into a pre-orientation trip. Colleges and universities such as Yale, Duke, Middlebury, Reed, Skidmore and Amherst also offer pre-orientation community service experiences for incoming students.  

The benefits of SCOREs and other similar programs are abundant. Menard describes such programs as “a way to promote a service ethic and to help incoming students learn about some of the community agencies, get involved with volunteering and community service in their communities.”

Additionally, “students are able to get engaged in the community and build some relationships with other students before they get to campus,” she said.

For more information on this summer’s SCOREs, visit whitman.edu/content/community_service/score.

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