Homework, safe travel and non-profit work: Four Day during a pandemic

Abby Malzewski, Staff Reporter

Whitman students used their beloved Four Day October break to catch up on work for a Religion class, travel across Washington, and work with a non-profit, among other activities. 

Nisha Thottam, a sophomore mathematics major from Redmond, Washington, used the time to work on the Safe Parking Program with the Lake Washington United Methodist Church. This service provides single women and their families who live out of their cars a safe place to park for the night and other services.

“I ran a bunch of drives to collect travel-sized shampoo, toothpaste, maxi pads and other necessities for the people in the program,” Thottam said. “I was able to help over 30 families with these drives.”

Thottam said she’s disappointed how little she has been able to travel during this break and during the pandemic more broadly.

“I did have trouble planning certain parts of my break, as traveling is a large part of my life,” Thottam said. “Most of my family lives in India, and we would have usually gone there over the winter, but due to the pandemic, traveling is not as safe as it used to be.”

Quinne Woolley, a senior economics major from Los Altos, California, decided to spend the break catching up on work and visiting shops downtown while staying in Walla Walla for the semester.

“I had coffee and a delicious pastry at Walla Walla Bread Co. with my friend and read a book for my Global Christianity class at the 1st Street seating area that the city designed for people to dine outside during COVID-19,” Woolley said. “It was lovely to have some extra time to catch up on homework.”

Woolley said she has had no trouble making plans to stay safe while living in Walla Walla due to the city’s coronavirus regulations.

“Especially in regards to going downtown, the City of Walla Walla has done a great job making downtown COVID-19 safe, while also allowing people to visit the local businesses and spend time outside,” Woolley said.

Flora Taagen, an undeclared sophomore from Seattle, spent part of the break visiting Walla Walla with a friend and then returned to Seattle for the weekend for her job at a clinic in North Seattle.

“I’m currently living in Seattle, so it was so great to be back and see everyone,” Taagen said. “I’m working at an abortion clinic in Seattle, which has been such an amazing and eye-opening experience. I’ve learned so much and it’s become a real point of passion for me.” 

Taagen said she took COVID-related precautions to stay safe while traveling throughout Washington for a few days.

“My roommate and I have been seriously social-distancing in Seattle and made sure to get tested for Four Day,” Taagen said. “We were so excited to visit, but first and foremost we wanted to stay healthy and safe.”