Emily Rich spent much of her four years at Whittier College in the Quaker Campus office. She is energetic, flopping puppet-like from chair to chair, room to room, advising editors, copy-editing, and going about her duties as QC Editor-In-Chief (EIC) with an extroverted energy.
“Honestly, the friendly community atmosphere of Whittier was really what made me feel like I was kind of at home here,” said Rich. Rich left her home, and the snow of Portland, Maine for the warmth of Whittier’s Southern Californian Winters. She entered the College blind. “I didn’t visit Whittier before I came here,” said Rich. “I plopped myself on campus. I was like, ‘This is it. I’m here. Ta-dah.’ ”
She was initially nervous, going across the country to a college she had never been to, where she knew no one. However, Rich grew close enough with her roommate to call her roommate’s mother her “Cali mom.”
Rich may have acclimated to her environment because she is naturally extroverted. “I’m a people person. I need to be social,” she said. Rich’s social tendencies drove her to major in Anthropology, which she feels has an inaccurate reputation as a subject inapplicable to the world outside academia. She feels that her major has allowed her to view the world with more empathy than before. “[A] big thing [for me] is not seeing everything from [my] own perspective … and I think being an Anthropology major has expanded that for me even further. [It has helped me] to see things from another culture’s perspective … you have to understand people and be able to live peacefully,” said Rich.
Rich feels that it is normal for first-years to feel confused and nervous when first arriving on campus, and the best way to resolve this sense of anxiety is to find a community. She feels that she found her community when she attended her first Quaker Campus meeting. “I felt super comfortable. I was like, this is a home for me,” said Rich. “This is where I belong.”
She started working as a copy editor, coming into the office on Wednesdays to check the spelling and grammar of article drafts. She worked as a copy editor for some time before being convinced to write her first story, “You do you Whittier College.” “My first one was called ‘You do you,’ cause that was my saying,” said Rich, “and everyone was like, ‘You do you,’ and I was like, ‘That’s me.’ ” Rich would go on to write about what she felt was a need for menstrual care products on campus (“If we give out free condoms, give out free tampons and pads, please and thank you” she said), a need the Associated Students of Whittier College currently being addressed by a bill passed by. And, of course, Rich also wrote about T-Pain for last year’s Whittfest article. “[My] number one [article was] T-Pain,” said Rich. “The T-Pain train: all aboard, let’s get this thing steamin,’ and rollin,’ and going. T-Pain was the best thing to happen to this campus [over] 2K17.”
Rich eventually moved up to Head Copy Editor. She worked late hours on Wednesdays — the night the paper goes out — and was invited to become Co-Editor-in-Chief along with Ty Lopez, her fellow current fourth-year. Rich has known Lopez since they were first-years, and the two of them bonded during a QC Conference in Washington, D.C.. Rich feels that they work well together. “[Ty] does have like that fiery, ‘I wanna do it drive,’ ” said Rich. “[And] sometimes that’s super great, and it helps me to just do something. But other times, it’s the opposite, where I need to slow him down and look at it from more of a distance. And I think, in that respect, we really balance each other out.”
Rich does not know what she plans to do after college, perhaps maybe journalism, but she feels the College was instrumental in her growth as a person. “I think Whittier really did shape me,” said Rich. She also has fond memories of spending time with her QC coworkers. “This year, as EIC,” she said, “one of my favorite memories was when me and a few of my coworkers were in the office until 5 a.m. or 6 a.m. in the morning, just putting every little tiny drop of whatever we had left into the paper, and we decided to go get breakfast at Denny’s at 5 a.m. in the morning because we were starving. And it was a good time.”
As for final words to the place that has been another home for the past four years — the College and the QC — she quotes Visiting Assistant Professor of English and QC Faculty Advisor Joe Donnelly: “Keep fighting the good fight.”
Ty Lopez is a fourth-year with a Whittier Scholars Program (WSP) major in Computational Bio Mathematics Major and a Minor in Philosophy and Literature. Along with participating in the WSP program, Lopez helped build the Whittier Scholars’ Portfolio website alongside Assistant Professor of Mathmatics William (Bill) Kronholm and Associate Professor of English Andrea Ren. He was the website manager as well as the creator.
On top of that, Lopez went even further in his academics career. During the Fall of 2017, Lopez had the opportunity to become a research assistant to the Cosmos Economy with Department of Business Administrations Professor Jack Gregg. In their research, they analyzed Frontier Space research and entrepreneurial business.
Apart from academics, Lopez has been involved in a variety of extracurricular activities and clubs that the Whittier College Campus has to offer. Lopez is the semester’s current Vice President of the Orthogonian Society, and has held leadership as both the Chess Club’s Vice President and President during his four years here at the College. Not only did Lopez hold leadership positions in his clubs and organizations, but he is currently a Residential Community Advisor for the Johnson Residence Hall first floor, and had the privilege of being a Peer Mentor for two years.
Out of all his organization memberships, one stood out from the rest. For three years, Lopez has been a part of the Quaker Campus (QC), working his way up from a staff writer to his current position as Editor-in-Chief. Originally wanting to come to Whittier College as an English Major, Lopez allowed his love of writing to guide himself to the QC.
“I liked the QC because it filled up that missing piece in my life of writing,” said Lopez. “I loved [being able] to keep writing and being involved on campus. It’s been my pride and joy. I love working here with everyone. I love the energy that is in this office. It means a lot to me, and I’ll miss it.”
It was this love that sparked the passion of creativity in Lopez. Out of all the articles he has written, he has a few favorites. “Part of me is going to hold onto the very first article I wrote here. That was a water polo Sports article. I really cared about that one because it was my first piece, and I got to see it in the paper, and I was super excited, but the one I enjoy most thoroughly is the “Free the nipple” opinion piece that I had written in collaboration with another individual here at the QC. I really enjoyed that piece. I feel like that was the most fun, favorite one that was chock-full of typical Ty puns and jokes, but also really spoke up about an issue that I thought should be addressed.”
It was moments and accomplishments like these that led Lopez to build close-knit friendships and communities at the College. Lopez knows that he has these connections with him wherever he goes, since he is able to take these friendships with him as he graduates. These friendships lie within the Orthogonian Society, WSP, the Chess Club, and, of course, with his fellow staff members of the QC.
“To the people here in the QC, I want to say thank you for all that you’ve done and all that you do,” said Lopez. “I see [all that you do] everyday, every night we’ve been in here [and] how much work goes into the newspaper. I am very thankful for everyone and for all the work that you do. I am very grateful that I have the best team, and I know that you guys are going to do great next year. Keep fighting the good fight. ‘Go Democracy,’ as Joe would say. I love you guys.”
Looking back, Lopez has a few words for his first-year self. “There is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Keep working, keep looking forward. You have got a lot of life to look forward to ahead of you. There’s people that love and care for you. So take it one day at a time, [and] you’ll get through it. You’re a tough kid. You’re smart. There’s people in your corner, so lean on them when it’s tough, but you’ve got it.”