Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 10
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Alumni, students link up at W Club golf tournament

Whitman’s third annual W Club golf tournament went off without a hitch last Friday, bringing alumni and student athletes together for an afternoon of hitting the links.

Put on by the W Club––Whitman’s athletics alumni association––and Whitman’s varsity golf teams, the tournament is one of the W Club’s most high-profile events during the academic year. Planning began a year in advance and all 14 varsity teams have been fundraising since last spring.

A tournament participant takes a swing.  All photos by Halley McCormick.

“We’ve been kind of testing fall versus spring [for big events like this] … so the planning process … has been shaping and re-shaping how much running a tournament like this can advantage the program,” said Whitman Athletic Director Dean Snider.

Despite the importance of fundraising efforts, events like the W Club golf tournament also emphasize forming connections between alumni and current student athletes. As Snider puts it, the “friend-raising” component of the W Club takes precedence over the fundraising.

“One of the primary goals of the W Club is friend-raising: getting our athletic alums and other alums reconnected with Whitman athletics,” said Snider. “I think the friend-raising side is really important, and that is what we need to focus on … We see fundraising as an outcome of good friend-raising and re-networking.”

The tournament is organized so that if possible, each foursome of players includes both alumni and current students. These groupings give alumni the chance to reconnect with Whitman athletics by asking questions and hearing current student athletes’ stories.

Whitman president George Bridges speaks with a tournament participant on course.

“Networking is a big thing. It is telling the story of really great students,” said Snider. “The theme that we have for the year is great students, great athletes, great experiences … We want to showcase how strong our athletes are … Telling that story is important because it reconnects people to the college. It establishes a political voice, a strong voice amongst the alumni that they want to have and maintain strong athletic programs where our athletic programs are seeking the same kind of excellence as every program on campus.”

A new aspect added to the tournament this year is the inclusion of student presentations during the banquet portion of the event. Snider introduced and interviewed four current student athletes-seniors Ryan Gilkey, Julianne Masser, Alyssa Roberg and Galen Sollom-Brotherton-to tell their stories to alumni, highlighting the theme of “great students, great athletes, great experiences.”

About two-thirds of the 80 players in the 2012 W Club golf tournament were alumni; the other third was made up of community members, including current student athletes. In total, the tournament raised a little under $9,000, a significant increase from the $5,000 raised in the first year.

In addition to big events like the golf tournament and the Hall of Fame banquet-scheduled for Sept. 29 in Sherwood Center-the W Club hosts other events throughout the year to reconnect alumni and student athletes. The W Club will be tailgating at the men’s and women’s soccer games at Pacific Lutheran University in October, as well as at an away weekend for the men’s and women’s basketball teams in the winter and an away weekend for either the tennis or baseball teams in the spring.

The golf tournament and other W Club events seek to highlight the unique relationship shared between Whitties, both current student athletes and alumni. By fostering real-world networking between the two groups, the W Club keeps alumni connected to the school and athletic programs they love.

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