Making connections and advocating for a safer WC
FOR THE QC
The sunny Southern California weather may have been part of what attracted fourth-year and Seattle native Eryn Wells to Whittier College, but, ultimately, the diversity, small class sizes, and strong Political Science program are what sold her. Wells is a Political Science major, but, after completing Professor of Political Science Joyce Kaufman’s course, “Intro to Globalization,” Wells decided to add Global and Cultural Studies as a second major. “I want to go into immigration law and I felt like Global and Cultural Studies fit into that really well,” said Wells.
Wells’ passion for advocacy extends past immigration law; she is also deeply passionate about women’s health and education law. As Community Organizing Intern for Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Prevention, Wells reviewed the College’s Title IX policy, making certain the language was inclusive, while also comparing Whittier’s policies to those of other colleges.
“I’ve made a lot of great connections with organizations like Planned Parenthood and One Love,” Wells said of her internship. “Whittier has taught me how to network [and] how to build and maintain professional relationships. It’s taught me how to mobilize a community around a topic that I’m passionate about.”
Wells was also President and co-founder of the Violence Intervention and Prevention Club (VIP), which focuses on preventing violence on campus through self-love and healthy relationships. As President of VIP, Wells has organized many events to get Poets involved. “We host about two to three events a semester, and I think we have really helped with spreading awareness about what sexual assault is, what domestic violence is, what dating violence is,” said Wells. “Hopefully in the end, I think we’ve helped to create a safer community for everyone since we are such a small community.”
Throughout her four years at Whittier, Wells has demonstrated exemplary leadership skills and a strength of purpose, which earned her three Student Life Awards from the Office of Student Engagement (OSE): the Emerging Leader Award, the Student Life Leadership Award, and the Student Life Innovator Award. Wells has dedicated a significant amount of her time and heart to bettering the lives of students on Campus — and it clearly shows.
Working actively to make the College a safer place has demanded much of Wells. Despite her limited time, Wells served on the Associated Students of Whittier College Senate for two years. In her second year, Wells sat on the table as the Social Justice Coalition External Chair and Representative. As a third-year, she sat on the Executive Board as Campus Relations Director.
During that time, Wells worked with former Student Body President Amer Rashid to co-author the first Student Bill of Rights. As Campus Relations Director, she managed the social media for Senate and mobilized students to go out to events hosted by Senate and other student organizations.
As Wells waits to hear back from the law schools she’s applied to (Loyola Marymount Law School, Pepperdine Law School, and Chapman University School of Law), she plans on taking a year off after graduation to volunteer for organizations like Planned Parenthood. Wells also hopes to work as a paralegal to gain a better understanding of what her future as a lawyer will entail.
Though she will soon no longer be a student at Whittier, Wells plans to stay active on Campus long after she’s graduated. Wells will even be the Alumni Advisor of the Violence Intervention and Prevention Club. As Alumni Advisor, Wells will work with the club’s incoming leadership to ensure a smooth transition for the 2019-2020 academic year.
Whittier College has aided Wells’ personal and professional development greatly, and in so many ways, she has done the same for the College. “Whittier’s a small community, so I was able to make lifelong connections with my peers,” she said. “I just want to thank everyone I’ve made a connection with [here], and who has trusted me [and] allowed me to connect with them — peers and professors and faculty and staff. I’m going to miss this community, but I will continue to work and advocate with the people I’ve made these connections with.”