Wednesday, March 31, 2010

WC Women's LAX

Poet Pride!

At 8pm, my final stop of the day took me to the football field, where I found the Woman's Lacrosse Team diligently practicing in preparation for their upcoming trip to Newark, Ohio. I watched in utter astonishment as they played with a mixture of skilled precision and pose. I was informed that during their trip East, the team will play three consecutive games over the course of three days. I wished them all the best of luck on their upcoming trip, while making a mental note to attend their next home game –WC Woman’s LAX is seriously cool.

President Rinaldi and Student Herzberger

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Dinner with the Rinaldi Family

In order to gain the full perspective of a commuter student, Herzberger joined me in my regular routine of driving home for dinner before my last class of the day. My very Italian family places great value on this time together, as we share conversation over my mother's delicious food.

The Menu:
Farfalle pasta with peas and bacon
Caprese salad
Green salad with oranges and dried cranberries
Turkey breast with artichokes
Dessert of raspberry and white chocolate cheesecake.

In all honesty, I expected nothing less from my mother. She is a marvelous cook and prepares dinners like this one on a regular basis. (Yes. It is good to live at home.)

Following dinner, I journeyed back to campus to visit the Phonathon office. I was impressed by the commitment and outgoingness of our student fundraisers, who were each busily placing calls to perspective donors. I offered to place a few calls myself, but quickly became intimated by the amount of information they know in order to smoothly convey facts to alumni about the current activities of campus. By their expertise and devoted work ethics, I was not surprised, but very proud to learn that they had so far this semester raised $100,000 for our campus.

Palmer Lunch!

Palmer Lunch around the Rock

An Afternoon of More Meetings

At 2:30pm, I met with the Vice President of Academic Affairs, Charlotte Borst, to prepare for the WASC meeting. As she explained the requirements of the college's re-accreditation process, I was amazed at how much work goes into it! There is so much that the college must continually prepare and present in order to prove their accountability, both in our educational standards and financial standing. What a lengthy and complicated process!

At 3:00pm, I met with Director of Financial Aid, David Carnevale, to discuss the importance of Cal Grants to Whittier College students. As a private college where students work closely with their advisors, our campus offers students the opportunity to easily graduate within four years, enabling many students to receive and utilize their Cal Grant without worrying about the cost of additional semesters.

At 4:00pm, I attended a meeting of the WASC committees on campus, once again observing their on-going process in maintaining the college's re-accreditation. It is truly unbelievable the amount of work the President and her staff must undertake to uphold the financial stability and educational standards at Whittier College. I sincerely commend all of those committed to this laborious task for the benefit of the college and student population.

Meeting with Faculty

At noon, I headed off to the Campus Inn for lunch. For me, this is a rarity because like most commuter students who don’t have a meal plan, I typically will eat at the Spot, where lunch is significantly cheaper. Inside the Campus Inn, I sit and listen to the conversation of a small group of faculty members over my salad and pizza as they prepare for their meeting at 12:30. I was amused to realize that their concerns directly matched those I’ve encountered within the student body; which buildings will be renovated and when, the utilization and quality of classroom technology, the bleak reality of budget cuts.

At the faculty meeting I was asked to address the thoughts of commuter students. I am pleased to say that the commuter experience at Whittier College is a positive one. We blend in seamlessly with our dormitory peers because of our inclusion in the classroom, active roles on campus and enthusiasm for learning. While the drudgery of a daily drive and parking struggle may make commuting feel like a pilgrimage at times, the benefit of emails for class cancelations and high traffic days helps considerably. In addition, the I.D. scanners outside of dormitories that make it possible to study with other students without being locked out. In my opportunity to speak with faculty I commended them for going the extra mile to be available to all of their students, especially outside of the frame of their office hours. To all the professors who come before class, stay after class, keep additional appointments, send emails and receive house calls, it is this type of availability and willingness to work closely with their students that makes Whittier College an exceptional place to learn.

I would like to mention that I was highly impressed by the order of the faculty meeting; they conducted themselves in a professional, respectful and friendly manner that, in my opinion, illustrates the pleasant day to day ambiance of our campus.