Greetings, Whitworth families!
It seems like yesterday that my colleagues and I in Alumni & Parent Relations were traversing the West Coast, welcoming members of the Class of 2016 to Whitworth at Summer Sendoffs hosted in the homes of Whitworth families. Parents and future Whitworthians alike were brimming with anticipation about the new adventure before them.
Over the past few weeks, I've bumped into several of the students I met last summer. While still brimming with enthusiasm, they now walk the Whitworth campus as seasoned veterans of college life – they're studying hard, enjoying new friendships, and experiencing all that Whitworth has to offer. Now, with autumn here and the holidays just around the corner, students are excited for the chance to rest and recuperate and, for most students, to travel home and spend time with family and friends.
As you read this issue of The Loop, I hope you get a taste of life on campus, and glimpse the passion and commitment of Whitworth's faculty and staff as we fulfill our calling to educate the hearts and minds of Whitworth's great students.
Thank you for your prayers and support, and for the many ways you partner with us in advancing Whitworth's sacred mission
Blessings, and enjoy The Loop.
Aaron McMurray, '95
Director of Alumni & Parent Relations, and Annual Giving
Finals Week Exam-Survival Kits
If you ordered an Exam Survival Kit for your son or daughter, the kits will be delivered on Thursday, Dec. 6. We are pleased to offer two options for your student: the Finals Week Fresh Fruit Bag, which includes fresh, healthy seasonal fruit packaged in a recyclable gift bag, and the Exam Energy Kit, filled with familiar favorites, including Act II Kettlecorn microwave popcorn, Cheez-its, Animal Crackers, Dum Dum pops, Dubble Bubble, M&M's, and other surprises – 20 items in all.
Did you know that almost 40 parents volunteer on our Parents' Council? These volunteers comprise a representative group of parents of current students who meet on campus twice annually. Their objectives are to serve as a sounding board for selected university initiatives, and to generate and maintain the goodwill and support of student families. Parents on the council live in areas where we have the highest number of current Whitworth students and families. Click here for more information about the Parents' Council.
Construction of New Campus Recreation Center Underway
On Sept. 21, the Whitworth Board of Trustees officially broke ground for the Whitworth Campus Recreation Center, which is scheduled to open to faculty, staff and students in fall 2013. The new facility is located behind Westminster Hall and the Lied Arts Center, on the northwest side of campus. When the rec center opens, the current Scotford Fitness Center will be repurposed as the Scotford Strength Center for varsity athletics, and will house the strength and conditioning equipment that currently resides in the basement of Graves Gym.
Students have provided input to help to design the new campus rec center. One feature that students are particularly excited about is a rock-climbing wall with seven climbing stations and a bouldering section. In addition, the 32,000-square-foot facility will feature three basketballs courts, which were included to address the lack of space on campus for intramural sports, a popular extracurricular activity for many students. The rec center will also include an elevated three-lane track, a new fitness center that is 30 percent larger than the Scotford Fitness Center, and storage for outdoor recreation equipment.
This $8 million project supports Whitworth 2021, the university's 10-year vision and strategic plan, and is funded primarily through loans. The university has already begun to pay this debt off through a student-approved facilities fee of $300 per year that has been added to each student's fees starting this year. For additional information and architectural renderings, click here.
Merkel Field Renovation
Merkel Field, Whitworth's baseball field since the 1970s, is undergoing exciting changes. The infield is being resurfaced with FieldTurf, an artificial turf surface that is used at Division I facilities like the University of Oregon and Washington State University. The chain-link backstop is being replaced with a 2.5-foot brick wall and netting, and the dugouts are being replaced with in-ground, professional-style dugouts. The press box was also demolished as the athletics department works toward accumulating enough funds to replace it and the bleachers.
Funded by generous donations, the renovations began during the second week of September and will be finished by the end of November, weather permitting. Dan Ramsay, head coach of Whitworth's championship-winning baseball team, was thrilled to see the changes begin.
"We have worked hard to get our program where it currently is, and seeing the commitment to make our facility second-to-none is exciting," he says. "I know the players share in the excitement."
While it's been challenging for the team to practice off-campus during the renovation, Ramsay knows it will be well worth waiting to use the improved facilities in the spring. He is also thrilled that the improvements will allow Whitworth to continue to bring in some of the best and brightest baseball players for years to come.
In spring 2012 Whitworth Baseball won the Northwest Conference championship, and in the postseason won the West Regional championship, earning Whitworth's first-ever appearance at the NCAA DIII World Series. "I have similar expectations for this year's team," Ramsay says. "We've returned seven everyday starters in the field and five of our six biggest contributors on the mound for the upcoming season. I know that our players are using their experience at the national championships as motivation to work even harder to get back there in 2013."
Update from the Whitworth Health & Counseling Center with Kristiana Holmes
The Whitworth Health & Counseling Center provides students with confidential and professional healthcare options on campus. The center is open to all full-time undergraduate students and seeks to serve students' physical and mental healthcare needs. The center offers exams for acute illnesses and injuries, physical exams, travel screenings, immunizations, lab work, prescriptions, durable medical equipment loans, and confidential counseling sessions. The counseling center also offers various support groups throughout the year.
The health center has already issued more flu shots this year than by this time in past years. "It's great to see students taking preventative measures to avoid becoming ill and to prevent the spread of illness to others," says Health Center Director Kristiana Holmes. "We are encouraging students to make sure their regular immunizations are up to date, including the Pertussis (whooping cough) vaccination." This particular precaution is due to the Pertussis epidemic present in Spokane County and the state of Washington.
In addition, the health center is pleased to offer streamlined travel screenings for students who will be traveling with Whitworth-sponsored programs this year. "We have worked hard to create a process that is easy for the students, but that still meets their needs for healthy travel. We have done this in conjunction with Whitworth's off-campus studies program and the center for service-learning," Holmes says.
The Whitworth Health & Counseling Center is a convenient place for students to access healthcare on campus. Its trained, professional staff members work diligently to meet students' needs and to help ensure a healthy campus throughout the year. For more information about the center and its services, please visit its website.
Meet Jolyn Dahlvig, Associate Dean of Students
Jolyn Dahlvig rejoined Whitworth's student life division in July 2012 as associate dean of students. Dahlvig is originally from Chehalis, Wash. She holds a bachelor's degree from Pacific Lutheran University, a master's degree from Oregon State University, and in 2011 she graduated from Azuza Pacific University, in Azuza, Calif., with a doctorate in higher education leadership.
Before joining Whitworth as associate dean of students, Dahlvig was the associate dean for residence life at Calvin College, in Grand Rapids, Mich.
Dahlvig first worked at Whitworth from 1998-2001, when she served as resident director for Stewart Hall and the Village. Her son, Micah, had just learned to walk when the Dahlvig family moved into Stewart, and her daughter, Anna, was born during her last year as resident director. Dahlvig's husband, Christopher Dahlvig, '00, earned a B.A. degree in accounting at Whitworth while she was resident director.
"Whitworth has always had a special place in our family's life," Dahlvig says.
Now, as associate dean of students, Dahlvig works to make Whitworth a special place for students who live on campus. She is responsible for collaborating with various departments in all areas of student life to facilitate great living spaces and student learning outside of the classroom. She is also responsible for upholding campus policies and meeting with students who do not live up to them.
Dahlvig loves how Whitworth allows students to create programs that tackle challenging topics. "I am impressed with how much Whitworth supports and empowers students with their vision for community."
Meet Sarah Washam, '04, Resident Director of Stewart Hall, the Village, and Boppell Hall
Sarah (Larson) Washam hails from Carlton, Wash., and graduated from Whitworth in 2004 with a B.A. degree in theatre performance and a certificate in ministry. Washam went on to earn a master's degree in counseling from Western Seminary, in Portland, Ore.
"Whitworth prepared me not just academically, but interpersonally," Washam says. During her undergraduate years at Whitworth, she served as a resident assistant, an experience through which she learned how to lead and challenge her peers, how to receive critical feedback, how to foster a community in the dorms, and how to engage with others in conversations about topics she was passionate about.
"This education of mind and heart has continued to shape my passions in life and has given me direction in my life and in my career," Washam says.
Before joining Whitworth, Washam interned as a counselor at Concordia University, in Portland, Ore. Previous to that, she worked in the Philippines with the nonprofit organization Summer Institute of Linguistics International, leading college students from Asia who were interested in Bible translation to the various islands.
A major personal goal Washam has set is to be a lifelong learner. "It is easy to think you have it all figured out," she says. "But it is a more difficult task to cultivate in oneself a teachable spirit. I enjoy the interactions I have on a daily basis with the students. I am continually challenged in my own thinking and am so inspired by the energy and dedication of the students I work with."
Meet Jeremiah Sataraka, '09, Resident Director of Baldwin-Jenkins Hall
Jeremiah Sataraka was born and raised in Tacoma, Wash., which he fondly describes as "the blue-collar version of Seattle." His first impression of Whitworth was that it had a strong sense of community.
"I knew Whitworth was going to be a place where I would challenge my own Christian identity," Sataraka says.
Sataraka was an Act Six scholar who graduated from Whitworth in 2009 with a degree in sociology. One of his best and most eye-opening experiences as a student was taking the Race and Ethnicity Jan Term course, taught by Associate Professor of Sociology Jennifer Holsinger. "I still remember the ‘Aha!' moment when Jenni said ‘race is not based on biology, but is a social construct.' This rocked my world, because I rarely acknowledged the role society played in my understanding of race, especially in the context of the United States," he says.
His Whitworth experiences were also defined by various study-abroad programs he participated in, including travels to Thailand, England, France and Italy, South Korea, China and Tanzania. Sataraka says his international experiences broadened his understanding of the responsibility he has to make a positive impact in each community he inhabits.
Before accepting the resident director position at Whitworth, Sataraka was a program coordinator for the Posse Foundation, in Chicago. The Posse Foundation partners with top colleges and universities in the United States to offer full-tuition, merit-based scholarships to students with high leadership and academic potential who may be overlooked by traditional college admissions processes.
As Whitworth's Baldwin-Jenkins resident director, Sataraka's primary goals are to ensure a sense of belonging among the dorm's freshman residents and to support the student-leadership team members, who are sophomores through seniors. Two of the 14 members of the Baldwin-Jenkins student team, Hanh Nguyen, '14, and Jacob Dansereau, '15, are also Act Six scholars. Sataraka hopes to make as big of a difference in students' lives as his resident director, Tyler Pau, '01, did in his life, and to engage students in challenging conversations about leadership, community, race, gender, faith and sexuality.
Prime Time Highlights
Every night on campus, students in each residence hall have the opportunity to participate in Prime Time activities between 8-10 p.m. in the residence-hall lounges. These activities are planned and facilitated by student leaders, who incorporate social, multicultural, intellectual and physical components. A few Prime Time highlights from this fall, according to members of the residence-life team, include conversations about "words that hurt"; ping-pong tournaments; Zumba; awkward family photos; and anything involving food. Ask your student about his or her favorite fall-semester Prime Time!
Student Life Creates New Program to Ensure Student Success
This year, Whitworth Student Life created a new program called Student Success, which proactively engages students who are at risk of not succeeding. Landon Crecelius, '04, was hired to serve as the program's student success advocate.
Crecelius is from Colbert, Wash., and grew up interacting with Whitworth's campus through sports camps, Young Life, and Vacation Bible School at Whitworth Community Presbyterian Church.
"When I first came on campus as an undergrad, I was taken aback by the overwhelming quality of people, from students and staff to faculty," says Crecelius, who majored in speech communication, minored in leadership and theology, and earned a certificate in ministry.
"My Whitworth education has prepared me to lead, follow, and ask good questions in every setting I've entered," he says. "I was well-prepared in both mind and heart to face the many challenges my jobs have placed in front of me."
After graduating, Crecelius worked for the YMCA and Young Life for four years before returning to campus as a resident director. "My impressions of Whitworth as a resident director confirmed the frequent ‘Best Christian Workplace' recognition Whitworth receives."
As Whitworth's student success advocate, Crecelius is excited that colleges across the country are retooling their student-support systems to better meet students' needs, much like Whitworth is doing with its Student Success program. He enjoys having the opportunity to hear students' stories, to ask them how they would like to write their own stories from this point forward, and to not only listen to these at-risk students, but to come alongside and support them.
The Student Success team, headed by Nicole Boymook, assistant dean for off-campus students and student success, and Randy Michaelis, associate provost of instruction, meets weekly to follow up on individual students whom the university has identified as being personally or academically at risk of not succeeding during their time at Whitworth. From these meetings, a plan is developed for how to best support these students and connect them with the most advantageous resources.
Crecelius and the Student Success team members then meet one-on-one with the students to collaboratively develop individual plans for their success at Whitworth. The goal of the program is to create a holistic system that provides students feedback from multiple levels. "I like the idea that we can positively affect holistic campus health," Crecelius says. "We want to see more students retained from year to year and fewer students placed on academic probation, because of early intervention."
Parents’ Council members Sara and Kevin Bryant have three children, two of whom are Whitworthians: Michael, ’09, and Katherine, ’13. The Bryants live in Portland, Ore.
Do you have tips for parents of new students on how to navigate the Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks?
Several thoughts come to mind. The first is to realize that your child has changed a bit: become more independent with their time and thinking about things. Status quo is out the door. Communication about expectations for the time together is really key. If the parent expectation is that ‘my child is home and everything is back to normal,' you might be setting yourself up for a giant disappointment. Give you child some room. Have a conversation on the front end about expectations and be open to hearing the answers. Support your child's newfound independence, and at the same time communicate clearly your desires for the time. Come to some middle-ground agreement. Remember the sage advice that was given to me by a good friend about relationships in general. He told me that unasked for advice usually comes across as criticism.
What conversations have been most helpful to have with your student before or after holiday breaks?
Creating an opening dialogue about expectations is what I believe would be most helpful. Try your best to get some feedback about the time, any miscommunication, etc., prior to the student returning to campus. Work hard at listening and establishing trust and love.
Have the holidays changed or developed since your children left for Whitworth?
Yes. Our three 20-something's have seen change. We now have a married son, and two daughters living in different cities. So you have to be flexible and open without abandoning best-loved family traditions, or carry them on with friends and those children that can attend. It has been like a death to old traditions, but new ones spring up in their place. We are more concerned now about getting any family time where we are all together vs. having to do some specific activity. Also, give freedom to the children to start their own traditions and do their own holiday things.
Any fun family traditions for the holidays that you have kept? Any traditions that have developed since your children began college?
We continue to have our weekly Advent dinners at our home, where we invite an eclectic group of people to celebrate together over a simple meal. Part of the "program" is a shared discussion of something Advent-related that gives us pause for a moment to share together. We have loved these dinners over the years and have deepened relationships with close family friends through this yearly occurrence. Our children have expressed their appreciation for these times, as well.
Do you have any additional wisdom or advice for parents and students on navigating the holidays?
To parents: You have two ears and one mouth. Use them in that proportion! For students, it would be to encourage them to speak their truth and expectations to their parents in respectful ways.
Katherine Bryant, '13, is a speech communication minor.
What was your first holiday break experience during your freshman year?
Thanksgiving was the second time I went home freshman year. It was a huge reunion of friends and family. I played in an indoor soccer tournament with my best friends from high school on Thanksgiving Day and also ran a turkey trot. Basically, I loved every minute of it. Friendships still seemed intact and fruitful.
Has your holiday experience changed or evolved since you began at Whitworth?
It has been a lot more relaxed than at first. Freshman year I felt like I needed to see all of my friends from high school and do as much as possible during breaks. Now, I prefer sleeping and doing activities around Portland that aren't available in Spokane. I just spend a lot of time in the city and on my couch.
Do you and your family still have long-lasting traditions?
We are always hosting huge gatherings of friends every Sunday of Advent and get together with the same friends on Christmas Eve. I think because my parents are so good at maintaining friendships with my community in Portland, it is always easy to go home and feel like not a lot has changed. We have begun new traditions since my brother got married and have had to shift certain traditions to fit all of our schedules. I still bake dozens of cookies with my Mom and have begun to have bigger gatherings of friends over, such as hosting Christmas parties when everyone returns from school.
Do you have any new holiday traditions?
Christmas parties with friends, exploring new parts of Portland, and traveling to visit friends who aren't from home.
Any advice for new students on how to deal with their first holiday break?
It might feel weird to be at home. It isn't your normal routine anymore; don't be afraid to be honest with your parents about how you are feeling. Don't compare it to your life at school, because it's 100 percent different. Invest in your friends from high school who you see yourself being friends with in the future. And, most importantly, realize that your friends are different now, too. I came home feeling so excited, but I felt the weight of how hard my friends' experiences were their first few months vs. how amazing mine was and how I loved every minute of it. Remember that Whitworth is incredibly different from a state school and that the community you experience here is not the community that your friends are gaining at their schools.
Residence Hall Christmas Break and Spring Break Closures
Campus residence halls will be closed for Christmas Break and Spring Break. Before making travel plans, your student should check his or her exam schedule and residence-hall closing and opening times. For Christmas Break, students are required to leave their halls within 24 hours of their last exam, or by 10 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 15, whichever comes first. If there are special circumstances, your student should contact his or her resident director as soon as possible. Find specific opening and closing dates and times here.
Class of 2016 Parents' Facebook Page
If you are a parent of a Whitworth student in the Class of 2016, we've created a Facebook page for you to connect with other parents of freshman and transfer students. Search for "Whitworth University Class of 2016 Parents" on Facebook and join the conversation!
Update Your Information
The Whitworthian (Student Newspaper)
Have you changed your address, phone, primary e-mail address, or other personal information? Please keep us updated so we can keep you updated! Click here to easily update your information.
Whitworth Christmas Festival Concerts
The annual Christmas Festival Concerts featuring the Whitworth Choir, Whitworth Women's Choir, and student instrumentalists will be held in Spokane and Seattle in early December. Tickets are $18 general admission and $15 student/seniors.
The centerpiece of the Christmas Festival Concerts will be Italian composer Ottorino Respighi's rarely performed masterpiece, Laud to the Nativity. Written in 1930, the work is scored for coloratura soprano, mezzo soprano, and tenor soloists, a mixed chorus, as well as a chamber orchestra composed of two flutes, oboe, English horn, two bassoons, triangle, and piano four-hands. The 25-minute work will be performed by the Whitworth Choir and student instrumentalists, and will feature Whitworth Lecturer (Voice) Amy Porter, alumna Kyrsten Hafso, '07, and Director of Voice Studies Scott Miller as soloists.
The Spokane concerts will take place at the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox in downtown Spokane on Saturday, Dec. 1, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 2, at 3 p.m. For tickets, contact the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox box office at 509.624.1200 or from TicketsWest, where service fees may apply.
The Seattle concerts will take place on Saturday, Dec. 8, at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 9, at 2 p.m., at Seattle First Presbyterian Church, located at 1013 8th Ave . For tickets to the Seattle Christmas Festival Concerts, visit www.whitworth.edu/musictickets or call 1.800.532.4668.
For additional information, please contact the Whitworth Music Department at email@example.com or 509.777.3280.
We hope you can join us!
Alumni Night at the Fieldhouse
Are you a parent of a current Whitworth student and an alumnus? Please join us for Alumni Night at the Whitworth Fieldhouse on Saturday, Feb. 2, as the women's and men's basketball teams battle it out against Pacific University at 6 and 8 p.m., respectively. Find us at halftime in the Scotford Fitness Center foyer during the men's game for refreshments and time to reconnect with other Whitworth alumni!
As the holiday season approaches, homesickness often surfaces for many students and "childsickness" often creeps in for many parents. We hope you are able to find meaningful time to connect with your student. For many of your students, a listening ear and a genuine celebration are needed this holiday season – they've almost made it through a rigorous semester!
Some of you haven't hugged your son since dropping him off in Spokane in early September; others of you haven't had a face-to-face conversation with your daughter since Parents' Weekend. No matter how long it has been, one thing is for sure – you're anticipating time with your student.
We are grateful for our Whitworth families and consider each of you – parents, students, and all family members – Whitworthians for Life. You are in our thoughts and prayers as the busy holiday season approaches.
Finally, a special thanks to our student writer, Josie Camarillo, '14, for compiling and crafting the majority of this issue of The Loop; we hope this newsletter is helpful to you. Thank you for taking time to read about all the great things happening at Whitworth.
In the Whitworth spirit,
Josh Cleveland, '01
Assistant Director of Alumni & Parent Relations