Students Flock to Whittier College for the First Day of Classes

August 23, 2023

Students at Whittier CollegeInclement weather doesn’t stop new Poets from showing school spirit during the first week

Tropical Storm Hilary may have caused rain on the Whittier College campus earlier in the week, but it reached a sunny high of 87 degrees on Wednesday, Aug. 23, the first day of classes for the fall semester.

First-year Ethan Molenkamp Green of San Diego was excited about exploring a new chapter in life and pursuing a degree in graphic design.

“I was nervous, but it's been a nice, good experience to be able to be independent and live on my own and enjoy classes,” Molenkamp Green said. “It gets me ready for the world after college.”

Older students, meanwhile, are excited to return to the Poet community they’ve created over the years. 

“I'm just excited to see my friends, especially for the last time before they graduate,” third-year art major Jordan Schreiber said. Her friend, Jasmine Marin, is graduating at the end of the semester and echoed those sentiments.

“I spent a summer not seeing them,” Marin said. “It’s great to see friends again.”

New Student Orientation events and activities successfully kicked off Monday, Aug. 21. The venue moved to The Donald E. Graham Athletic Center because of inclement weather, yet the turnout was still strong. Being indoors didn’t dampen the Poets’ school spirit as they cheered on the new academic year.

Students in the new class come from 23 states with California being naturally on top. Colorado, Hawaii, Maryland, New York, and Oregon sent many students as well. Internationally, there are students representing 15 countries, with Ethiopia and India leading the way and multiple students from Japan, Chile, and Peru.  

Light of Learning CeremonyOn Monday evening, the new students participated in their first Poet rite of passage: The President's New Student Convocation. It includes the college's symbolic Light of Learning ceremony, where Interim President Kristine Dillon ’73 shared inspiring words to the young scholars.

“Knowledge can give us a compass. But respect for others is what helps us make the journey,” Dillon said. “There is a frequently cited statement attributed as an African proverb. It’s important to keep the phrase in mind as we learn about new people and make new friends: ‘If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.’”