President Oubré’s first semester as a Poet
As the Fall semester winds down, students begin to think of how they have grown and changed over the past few months. They might even think of all of their firsts that happened this Fall — their first time living on campus, first love, first time writing a 20 page paper. However, students are not the only ones experiencing firsts at Whittier College; as this was President Linda Oubré’s first semester as Whittier College’s president.
At a crossroads between family planning
Nestled in a quiet and historic Uptown Whittier street corner, Planned Parenthood of Whittier provides family planning services to thousands of women every year. With discreet window shading and security-enforced entrances, the building does not seem to be the most welcoming. Yet upon entering, posters with slogans such as: “No judgment. Just Care” and “We’re here for you. Our doors are open” line the walls, alongside various pride flags. The corner next to the front desk is flanked with pamphlets on various sexual health dilemmas and their treatments, as well as resources on birth control and family planning.
Oh the places you’ll go, with an english degree
The Whittier College English department broke from the usual Backpack to Briefcase events, which, by the description on the College website, is where students go to “hear from past Poets about their journey into these fields and where their liberal arts education has taken them.” The English department instead hosted their own, major-specific career event from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 15 in the Dezember House. The event was organized and hosted by Whittier College professors including Assistant Professor of English Michelle Chihara, who opened the event with a short speech on what it means to get a degree in English. “I wanted to tell this story that I have about meeting a former English major, in Nashville, who ran a boutique distillery and got her job through her senior project in the History of the English Language on olde English beer recipes,” Chihara said. Despite being one of the most popular majors nationwide, ranking 19 out of 20 according to popularity on niche.com, English is often seen as a major with three possible outcomes: writing, editing, or teaching. This event aimed to disprove that very line of thinking.
Trans Vigil Recap
Poets gathered in the Campus Courtyard on Thursday, Nov. 15 to pay respects to trans-identifying Americans who had been killed in hate crimes in 2018. 23 total victims were represented at the vigil. Members of the Transgender, Other-Identified, Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, and Allies for Diversity club (TOBGLAD) organized the event and even brought and hung up posters of the victims, including their names and pictures. The Vice President and Treasurer of TOBGLAD, who preferred to remain unnamed, spoke together in honor of the victims, sharing each of their names in a meaningful candlelit ceremony.
DRIP DROP MAKE IT STOP!
Hello, Poets! There are big things happening on campus for Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Action Day. Keep your eyes open for campaigns raising awareness about environmental sustainability. Hopefully you all stopped by the Upper Quad yesterday, Nov. 28, and signed the promise to help conserve water on campus!
Casting a creative light on prison reform
At the beginning of November, a group of art historians, activists, educators, and participants directly affected by incarceration gathered together for a three-day symposium, Envisioning the Role of Arts in Criminal Justice Reform Conference, which focused on how art and art-related programs can have a positive impact on prison reform. The conference was held jointly at the Milwaukee Art Museum and the Haggerty Museum of Art at Marquette University. Both institutions hosted art exhibitions by various artists that specifically addressed this issue.
Society Spotlight: To bid or not to bid
Bids opened on Nov. 19 and many students have already been participating in the annual ritual of open houses, various rushes, and other activities that help prospective members decide whether or not they want to join one of the ten active Societies at Whittier College. If a student’s bid is accepted by a Society, they will begin the process of participating in New Member Education (NME) this Spring.
Society Spotlight: Franklin Edition
The semester is slowly coming to a close and so is Rush season. As you begin to choose whether or not to join a Society, remember this decision is your own. If your friend is going one way, that does not mean you have to go the same way. Whittier College Societies promote inter-Society connections and relationships, which is the reason we have the Inter-Society Council. Being in a Society, you are encouraged to branch out and meet other people, not just from other Societies, but also those not in Societies. It’s important to remember that joining a Society does not mean you can only be friends with the people in your Society.
Veteran’s organization spreads holiday cheer
The Whittier College Student Veteran Organization (WCSVO) is partnering with the Veteran Success Office to bring The Marine Toys for Tots drive to campus to collect toys for underprivileged children in the United States. The Marine Toys for Tots Foundation is a non-profit charity which was formed by United States Marine Corps (USMC) Major Bill Hendricks in 1947 and was authorized as a non-profit in 1991. It is currently run by the USMC Reserve. Since the charity’s creation, 548 million toys have been donated to 251 million children, and for the past seventeen years has been recognized as one of the top charities by The Chronicle of Philanthropy.
TOBGLAD takes on Trans Awarness Week
Individuals and organizations across the country will be observing Trans Awareness Week Nov. 12 – Nov. 19, 2018. According to glaad.com, “Transgender (Trans) Awareness Week is a time for transgender people and their allies to take action and bring attention to the community by educating the public and advancing advocacy around the issues of prejudice, discrimination, and violence that transgender people face.” It is a time for any and all non-cisgender folk to celebrate their identities, for those who can to show their support, and for those who do not know to learn about trans identities and trans-identifying people.
Unpacking political participation with the OEI
The day after the closely-watched midterm elections, the Office of Equity of Inclusion (OEI) and Assistant Director Kayla Kosaki hosted a Midterm Election Debriefing event. The event covered the results of the election, and what they meant to individuals, and to vulnerable communities. There was consensus among those in attendance that dialogues, like this one, are incredibly important, yet few had ever had access to discussions similar to this before.
Strategies on staying safe during a shooting
It’s an unfortunate reality that in a country with loose gun control laws, mass shootings and active shooters releasing fire in public spheres have become increasingly common. The recent shooting in Thousand Oaks, Calif. marks mass shooting number 307 in the United States in 2018; this puts us only a few days short of one mass shooting every day this year according to USA Today. In the U.S., death by gunshot is the statistically the most likely way to die. According to Medium, approximately one in 63 students will find themselves in the midst of a school shooting. These statistics may be terrifying, but they are not meant to incite panic and chaos; rather, they are meant to sober up students and to have the College recognize the need for a plan of action in the case that one of the worst and most feared tragedies occurs. Though nothing can prepare a student for the trauma of witnessing a situation that only stricter gun laws can prevent, knowing how to stay safe and protect those around you can be the difference between life and death.
Society Spotlight: Palmer Edition
With Rush season upon us, Whittier College students gear up to get to know more about Societies. Contrary to other schools, this is not when you have to make your decision, and many people go into the event unsure about what they want. Rush is simply a low-commitment, fun day of activities designed for everyone to get to know each other. A Society is composed of many facets, and their alumni base is an important one.
Social Work 363: Social Work Practice 3 Working with Groups and Organizations put on a Voter Info Forum on Nov. 1 at 4:30 p.m. on the first floor of the library. Refreshments in the form of tasty baked goods were provided for all who attended. Eight students and Professor of Social Work Laurel Brown led the event, educating other students on different propositions and candidates, as well as providing a flyer on different information ranging from voting by mail to early voting. This event was a follow–up to their community outreach project, which was a voter registration tabling event where they helped people register to vote outside the Campus Inn at lunch time. According to third–year Hailey McCord, who was one of the speakers at the event, the Voter Info Forum was meant to “further encourage people to do their civic duty to vote, or empower them to know that they can vote and their vote matters and what they would be voting for.”
A moment of silence and reflection for those lost
On Oct. 24, two African Americans were gunned down in a Kroger parking lot in Kentucky, because of the color of their skin. The following Saturday, 11 Jewish Americans were slaughtered during Shabbat morning services at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh simply because of their religion. In response to these tragedies, Whittier College, staying true to Quaker values, hosted a community reflection, in which Poets were encouraged to share their emotions and thoughts.
Four Point Omm
Take a moment to feel your feet on the ground. Feel the gravity that anchors your body to the Earth. Allow the muscles in your face, neck, and shoulders to relax. Take a few slow, deep breaths, and simply observe your body breathing naturally. Feel your abdomen expand and contract as you breathe in and out.
Whittier College celebrates life on Día de los Muertos
Nov. 2, the final day of Dia de los Muertos. I walked up to the Upper Quad and wound my way around the incredibly long line to take my place, lest I miss out on the opportunity to get a free lunch as one of the first hundred commuters. Around me, students swarmed and the bustle of different groups setting up tables for ofrendas (the collection of offerings on a table), sugar skull decorating, and face painting created a certain energy in the air as they all prepared for the lunch-turned-holiday-festivity. When I asked first-year D Garcia who helped plan the event, how she thought it turned out she said, “I feel that it was very touching experience for me. It meant a lot because I had never seen it celebrated on such a wide scale.”
Spilling the Tea on Spilling the Tea
This past Wednesday, Oct. 24, the Office of Equity and Inclusion held a discussion on cultural appropriation, in light of Halloween. This event was part of a series called “Spilling the Tea on Diversity,” which explores various topics relating to diversity and inclusion and seeks to educate students in an open dialogue that is welcoming to all questions and opinions, barring that they do not disrespect anyone's identity. The QC had a chance to sit down with the event’s two coordinators, first-year Diversity Ambassador (DA) Kea Minami and second-year DA Cole DiGrazia, to discuss to purpose and outcome of the event.
Election Day, the Whittier way
For many college students, the Nov. 6 election will be the first important election they can take part in. One of the most important parts of our democracy is the right to vote, yet only 46 percent of citizens ages 18 – 35 voted in the 2016 presidential election as compared to 72 percent of those over the age of 71, according to NPR. Valerie Strauss wrote in her article for The Washington Post that “[The youth] have not learned how to register to vote . . . They haven’t learned that they have power . . . This lack of education translates into a lack of political engagement.” In order to change this, the youth — college students in particular — need to understand how and where to vote.
Whittier College votes
Several things hold people back from voting by the time Election Day comes around. Anything, from losing interest or a sense of unimportance, to, sadly, voter suppression, have been known to prevent the vote of countless Americans in recent history. However, one factor that many seem to forget that does, indeed, hold people back is Election Day itself — particularly where it falls on the calendar. Election Day is held on the first Tuesday in the month of November or the first Tuesday after Nov 1. Unlike countries such as South Korea and Malaysia, Election Day is not a national holiday in the United States. Even here at Whittier College, our doors will still be open come Election Day, with many students and faculty having to balance school and voting on Nov. 6.
Amy Biehl’s Last Home
Amy Biehl went to South Africa in 1993 as a Fulbright Scholar just as the country’s Apartheid rule was coming to a close. Biehl was an American student from Stanford who always had a passion for helping others and forming connections among different cultures. In South Africa, Biehl witnessed that atrocities committed against people of color and frequently called home to her parents to talk about how the people of color had been oppressed for years under the government’s regime. Amy Biehl was murdered by a group of three South Africans who shouted anti-white slurs during an anti-white mob rally in August of 1993. Linda Biehl, Amy’s mother, visited Whittier College on Tuesday, October 9th to talk about the death of the daughter, and the lessons she learned about forgiveness.