Chat Transcript

Topic: Campus Life at Wes
Date:
Wednesday, October 23, 2013 

AssistantDeanCorvi : Hi everyone, thank you for helping with the Campus Life at Wes chat! Looking forward to a productive evening!

AssistantDeanCorvi : Just to start us off, while academics are an integral part in choosing a college, student life is a large part of a student's overall experience and is extremely important!

AssistantDeanCorvi: I will be here largely as a moderator....I have the utmost confidence that our wonderful Wesleyan "chatters" will have plenty to share about their own personal experiences!

Hanna Park: Nice to meet you all! I'm Hanna, and I was wondering if you could please tell me an aspect about Wesleyan campus life you think is unique to the school.

AssistantDeanCorvi: Welcome, Hanna!  Thank you for chatting with us.  Wesleyan students....what do you think!?

Adi Slepack_2016: Hi Hanna! I think the most unique thing about Wesleyan is the academic environment, which although rigorous is not very competitive. Everyone at Wes is generally here for their own benefit and are just trying to to the best they can learning things they're passionate about. There's no sense of having to do better than your peers, like there may have been in high school (I had that for sure!) - everyone helps each other out.

Adi Slepack_2016: It's a lot less stressful and friendly that way :)

AssistantDeanCorvi: There is certainly a collaborative atmosphere on campus

Alexandra Nesson: Personally one of the best things about Wesleyan's campus socially (and physically) is the Butterfields dorms. I'm a freshman this year, and I live in these dorms. I think that having so many people around, and being able to all congregate in the middle, is a really good thing socially. It has helped me to meet lots of people and find a small community in a big, new place.

courtneywiegand: I agree. I think Wesleyan's housing system in general is very unique. All four years you can live in different types of housing (dorms for freshmen and houses for seniors), which makes living on campus exciting and interesting. 

Lorin_ClassOf2016: Also, just on the non-academic side of things. Wes has a number of unique clubs and opportunities that I didn't find anywhere else. A great example of this is Farm House (where I am currently living this year). We focus on food sustainability, and a number of my housemates work on Wes' farm.

Hanna Park: Thank you, that was very helpful. Also have you found that at Wesleyan, students tend to know just about everyone they meet, or do they find a niche within the larger community?

Adi Slepack_2016: I think there's opportunity for that wherever you live on campus. Butterfields has the extra feature of freshman and sophomores all living together, but my freshman experience on the writing floor of Clark Hall had very much the same feel

AssistantDeanCorvi : Hanna, just to make sure you understand the housing system the students are describing, Wesleyan's Residential life operates on a Progressive Independence Model.  As you advance a grade level, your housing gets nicer and more independent!  As Courtney stated, you start out in dorms freshman year, have the opportunity to live in Program (Themed) Houses sophomore year, apartments in junior year, and during senior year, in your own wood-frame house!

AssistantDeanCorvi: Housing is also guaranteed for four year, so all of our students live on campus.

Adi Slepack_2016: I think the community is big enough that you don't know everyone on campus. I'd say people form smaller groups, but not restrictive/cliquey ones. I have my core group of friends from my hall freshman year, and this year I've met lots of new amazing people in classes, social gatherings, etc. So, I'd say it's a nice combination of both.

courtneywiegand: I feel like people find a few niches within the larger community. For me, my closest group of friends are from my dorm but I also have made close friends in clubs I've participated in. The campus is large enough that you don't know everyone you see, but you can say hi to a couple of friends on the way to a class, which is really nice in my opinion!

Lorin_ClassOf2016: I'd agree that it is a blend of the two. Everyone tends to find a place on campus where they feel they fit, but what makes Wes unique is that no one is just a "jock" or something along those lines. I've found that everyone sort of has a number of groups in which they fit because everyone has so many different aspects to them

Alexandra Nesson: About finding your niche-- speaking from experience, I've only been here a few months, so I don't feel like I know everyone yet. But I do have a group of friends within the larger community, and I'm meeting new people every day.

Alexandra Nesson: And I love everyone I meet! The people here are SO cool.

Adi Slepack_2016: ^ seconded

Hanna Park: That sounds amazing! Yeah, I'm looking for a college/university that is small but large enough so that I don't know everyone right away, so this seems like the perfect size.

Hanna Park: Also are themed houses offered only to sophomores?

Adi Slepack_2016: They are open to juniors as well but I would say the majority of program house-dwellers are sophomores. Freshman year you have a few options, including Writing Hall - which is the best!!! - and WesCo is considered Program Housing I believe.

Lorin_ClassOf2016: They are open to everyone except freshmen, as you apply to them at the end of every academic year. But seniors tend to live in wood-frames with their friends, so you tend to just find a mix of sophomores and juniors in them

Adi Slepack_2016: There's also a Green Hall in Butterfields I think!

AssistantDeanCorvi: Could you provide some examples of Program Houses!

Adi Slepack_2016: Rapid fire!

Adi Slepack_2016: Film House, International House, Writing House Full House

Alexandra Nesson: Out house (outing club)

Alexandra Nesson: earth house

Alexandra Nesson: art house

Adi Slepack_2016: French Hall

courtneywiegand: Lighthouse

Lorin_ClassOf2016: Farm house, Science hall, german house,

Lorin_ClassOf2016: community service house

Adi Slepack_2016: Buddhist House, Music House

AssistantDeanCorvi: Wow, I am impressed!

AssistantDeanCorvi: Program houses tend to house fewer students than dorms and they are all centered on a theme

Adi Slepack_2016: Well Being House

AssistantDeanCorvi: Wonderful relationships are formed in these mini-communities

Hanna Park: Are language houses popular?

Adi Slepack_2016: There's La Casa for spanish speakers! and French Hall is pretty popular I think

Lorin_ClassOf2016: They truly are a community though. Most tend to have house dinners every week, so that everyone can get together and destress from the previous week with a great meal!

AssistantDeanCorvi: We also have Chinese House, German Haus, Russian House, and Sign Language House!

Hanna Park: What are the main reasons that students want to live in La Casa, or any other cultural/language house?

Lorin_ClassOf2016: And program houses in general are extremely popular. They are almost always completely full, and you have to apply to get into them.

Alexandra Nesson: I can't live in a house yet but all the houses I do see look like such amazing places! Lots of bonding.

Lorin_ClassOf2016: From my friends that are in language houses, it is because they want to be surrounded by a community that is as interested in the culture or language as they are

AssistantDeanCorvi: What sorts of clubs/organizations/extracurriculars do you all participate in? What do you love about them?

AssistantDeanCorvi: If any of the chatters that have joined us have questions, don't be shy, shout them out!

Lorin_ClassOf2016: I'm predominantly involved in one of Wes' Ultimate Frisbee teams. But I also try to go on as many outings (mainly hikes) as possible with Outing Club, and I try to get out to the Long Lane farm to volunteer as often as possible

Adi Slepack_2016: Aside from participating in chats for prospective students as a WesAmbassador, I am also a contributor for Wesleying, our student run blog (www.wesleying.org if you wanna take a look). Last year I wrote some opinion pieces and I have a few employee interviews lined up for the near future. I also recently joined a new club, WeSNL, which is for people who love comedy, acting, writing, and/or film production. My most time-consuming extracurricular is my involvement with WESU, our college radio station. I have a show called the Late Night Format where I've adopted the television talk show format for radio. I write a weekly monologue and play games on the air with friends and it's the most rewarding and enjoyable thing I think I've ever done.

Alexandra Nesson: One of the activities I participate in is the Traverse Square tutoring program. We tutor kids from the Middletown community, helping them with homework and then playing with them. It's a nice way to give back and spend time with some cute kids!

Mariel Hohmann: Hi, I'm Mariel. I was wondering if you talk more about the outing club and what kinds of activities you do in it.

Lorin_ClassOf2016: Sure! Outing club is a club run through one of our program houses on campus (OutHouse). Every week they plan outings ranging from hikes to rock climbing to canoeing. It really dependent upon the weather though.

Alexandra Nesson: I once went on a trip with outing club to nearby Millers Pond. We hiked a short distance and then jumped into the pond. It was such a fun way to start off my Saturday.

Lorin_ClassOf2016: During the blizzard last year, I went snow shoeing with them around campus!

Lorin_ClassOf2016: And yeah, they do the polar plunge every Saturday. Or at least until the pond freezes over with ice

Hanna Park: Are there opportunities at Wesleyan to help animals or be involved in animal rights?

Lorin_ClassOf2016: I don’t know too much about its presence on campus, but I do know that we have a group called Wesleyan Students for Animal Welfare (WAW) which works with a local shelter

Lorin_ClassOf2016: And there is also the wildlife management side of things, which Wes is really involved in

AssistantDeanCorv: Hanna, something that your question calls attention to is one of the greatest aspects about Wesleyan.

AssistantDeanCorvi: Our students have such diverse interests and passions, so although in this example we have a group (WAW), if a student is so compelled, they can create their own club or initiative

AssistantDeanCorvi: As a Wesleyan student, you would have the support and resources to help WAW be more involved in fighting for animal rights, or you could start a brand new club!

AssistantDeanCorvi: Could any of the Wes students talk about the WSA and perhaps specifically about how they support clubs and activities?

Lorin_ClassOf2016: Well, the WSA is the Wesleyan Student Assembly, and they are a group of students from each year that the student body elects. They are sort of like our college version of student government. They work a lot with registering clubs and allocating funds to them depending upon their need.

AssistantDeanCorvi: Chatters, what activities do you participate in now? I am willing to bet there are several ways to stay involved here at Wes!

courtneywiegand: There are many opportunitis in Middletown for extracurriculars as well! I work at the Ryan Woods Foundation, which helps autistic children and their families. It's a really rewarding experience. I also help with Food Rescue on campus, which takes unused food from cafeterias and brings it to shelters for the hungry in Middletown. Both activities are really great!

AssistantDeanCorvi: Thanks, Courtney!  About 80% of Wesleyan students get involved in some sort of community outreach and like your experience, Courtney, it often happens in Middletown!

AssistantDeanCorvi: Anyone else involved in Middletown?

Alexandra Nesson: I do the tutoring program in Middletown. I'm also in SHOFCO, a community service group. It stands for Shining hope for communities, and we raise money for a school in Kenya.

Adi Slepack_2016: Not outreach, but an interesting thing about the radio station is that it is open to the greater community as well. So, getting involved with the station allows you to meet lots of people not only from campus but also the surrounding area

AssistantDeanCorvi: Alexandra, could you talk a little more about SHOFCO?

Alexandra Nesson: Yes! It's a really nice group of people who are very committed to the girls school in Kenya. We do fundraising in the form of concerts, and we're about to do a pumpkin-carving program. Some of the group members have gone to Kenya over the summers to visit the girls and the school. It's a really good cause and the group is great!

AssistantDeanCorvi: What other questions could we answer out there?

Adi Slepack_2016: Don't be shy!

AssistantDeanCorvi: One of the things I love most about Wesleyan is the vibrant arts scene....anyone care to elaborate?

Adi Slepack_2016: There is so much to see at Wes! Second Stage is churning out shows almost weekly ~ there's always a great show to watch on the weekend.

Adi Slepack_2016: The a capella and comedy troupe scene is pretty exciting as well. It's always so difficult to choose between all the options!

Lorin_ClassOf2016: And every weekend there are at least three concerts to go to (if not more)

AssistantDeanCorvi: Any Wes students know how many a capella groups there are on campus.........

Alexandra Nesson: 10?

Lorin_ClassOf2016: I'm not entirely sure, but my best guess would be upwards of eight

Lorin_ClassOf2016: probably more

AssistantDeanCorvi: 13!

Kevin Roland: Could you elaborate on the a capella groups (how competitive are they?) and other singing opportunities

Lorin_ClassOf2016: You have to audition to get into them all, but there are definitely some longer-running, well-established ones that are harder to get into than others.

AssistantDeanCorvi: I agree! There's a great variety amongst the a capella groups as well

AssistantDeanCorvi: To name a few, "The New Group"...they claim to be "the sexiest a cappella group on campus".  Definitely known for upbeat, fun concerts

AssistantDeanCorvi: Quasimodal is another coed a capella group

Alexandra Nesson: They are all sooo good! They sound amazing

AssistantDeanCorvi: Onomatopoeia is an all-female group. They sing a blend of music from all genres

Lorin_ClassOf2016: The Eastern European one is also pretty out there.

AssistantDeanCorvi: And Slavei is a cool group of singers devoted to singing Celtic chants! 

AssistantDeanCorvi: Often a capella groups from other schools perform alongside Wesleyan groups.  Anyone been to one of those concerts?

Lorin_ClassOf2016: I went to one last year. It was Onomatopeia's concert in Olin, but they had invited a Harvard Glee Club to perform with them for the night. It was amazing!

Kevin Roland: How much of your time do some of you devote to extracurriculars versus academics?

Alexandra Nesson: Right now it feels like a lot of my time goes to academics, because I'm still getting used to the college workload. But it's getting easier to manage, and as that happens, I'm able to go to more club meetings and events. Overall it's a good balance.

Lorin_ClassOf2016: I am going to be honest, I am taking an extremely hard class load this year, so academics definitely take up a large majority of my time. But I feel like I'm not really in an unusual place because of that. It’s generally accepted on campus that everyone has a lot of work, but when you aren't working, there is always something nonacademic to get involved in or that you want to go to. Basically, I guess what I'm trying to say is that I am always busy, but it's a pretty reasonable balance between schoolwork and fun

courtneywiegand: I'm a freshman, so I'm just beginning to join clubs and other extracurriculars, but I think it's all what you make it. At Wesleyan, we have the "rule of 7", which is that each semester you should try to do 7 things. So that could be 4 classes and 3 extracurriculars or 5 classes and 2 extracurriculars - this rule really helps me balance how I spend my time.

Adi Slepack_2016:  Juggling all the extracurriculars I'm in right now plus my on-campus job and all my homework AND some form of a social life is certainly challenging, stressful even. But it's a good kind of stress and eventually, if you want to do it all, you begin to learn to balance your time.

aaron kirshenberg: How is the food? And I heard about some food trucks that are at campus in the evening.  Are they campus run or they come from private vendors that are allowed on campus?  Thanks for hosting the chat!

courtneywiegand: The food trucks are amazing!!

courtneywiegand: I've been to the grilled cheese truck and the falafel truck. They are private vendors so you have to use your own money but it is so worth it!

Adi Slepack_2016: They are private vendors. Aside from food trucks, we have a lot of options on campus: Usdan, Summerfields, WesWings, Pi Cafe, and WeShop

aaron kirshenberg: I cook a lot.  People always joke with me that if all else fails I could always run a food truck....

Lorin_ClassOf2016: The food is pretty great. Plus, Wes is very accommodating of any dietary restrictions people may have. Just last year, Wes won the most vegan friendly campus in the US

Adi Slepack_2016: And although sometimes it does get old, the food is quite good. But if you ever get tired - a lot of people do choose to buy from WeShop & cook (although that's hard to do too much as a freshman) or go into town every once in a while. We have an amazing assortment of restaurants on Main Street

Mariel Hohmann: Do your dining halls use produce grown in your gardens or anywhere local?

Adi Slepack_2016: Yes! Occasionally Usdan will use and advertise their use of organic, locally grown ingredients

Lorin_ClassOf2016: There is a range. Wes tries to use as much local produce as possible, and only used cage-free eggs. Usually the sign that says what the dish is will have a sticker "farm to fork" on it if it was grown within 50 or so miles (I believe) of Wesleyan. That being said, feeding an entire campus full of hungry college students with just food that we grow is quite hard

AssistantDeanCorvi: Wesleyan students also run a farm on Long Lane. They have a partnership with Usdan, the main dining hall, so Usdan is able to employ students to work and maintain the farm in exchange for produce!

AssistantDeanCorvi: The produce from Long Lane Farm is also sold at the local farmers market (seasonally, of course)

aaron kirshenberg: Thank you for that information and feedback.

Mariel Hohmann: That's really cool, thank you

Alexandra Nesson: The main thing for me is that there's a lot of variety and the food actually is good. So definitely don't worry about that!

AssistantDeanCorvi: Time is running out....ask those questions!

AssistantDeanCorvi: Anyone want to speak about Spring Fling!?

AssistantDeanCorvi: Or what about opportunities in athletics and fitness?

Alexandra Nesson: WesBAM stands for Wesleyan body and mind and offers great classes! I go to yoga every Friday and I love it.

courtneywiegand: I do Zumba every Tuesday, which is really fun!

Kevin Roland: Club sports?

Lorin_ClassOf2016: Spring Fling is this amazing concert series that Wes has every year. It's held on Foss Hill, and is the day before reading period (so it's a great de-stressor right before everyone getting into finals mode). Last year, the headliner was Kendrick Lamar

Lorin_ClassOf2016: There are a number of club sports on campus. Ultimate frisbee. Rugby. Soccer. Tennis. And many more that I am forgetting

aaron kirshenberg: On the athletic front:  is there a "most popular sport" at Wes? That receives the largest attendance from students.  Thanks.

Alexandra Nesson: i have a friend who plays water polo and he really likes it

courtneywiegand: Volleyball and squash as well

Lorin_ClassOf2016: Club sports  are a great way to become a part of a sports community without the commitment of varsity athletics.

courtneywiegand: Football games get a decent amount of attention because the home games are in the center of campus and sometimes there are food stands and stuff like that set up for the game, so it's really fun!

Lorin_ClassOf2016: And I don’t think so. Football and baseball are the most noticeable, but that's mainly because their games are held in the exact center of campus, so you see them while simply walking by

aaron kirshenberg: Thank you, cool.

AssistantDeanCorvi: Any final questions!?

aaron kirshenberg: Thank you for hosting.  E-chats are a great idea. 

AssistantDeanCorvi: It is our pleasure!  Thank you for logging in!

AssistantDeanCorvi - 20:59 : I also want to make myself available as a resource outside of this chat.  If anyone has lingering questions or something comes to mind, please feel free to contact me!  My name is Ashleigh Corvi, I am an Assistant Dean of Admission, and my email is acorvi@wesleyan.edu