Yes, it seems obvious and cliché at the same time. But clichés are clichés for a reason. Not only is the library the center of academic life at Whitman, it doubles as a social hub. When I’m seriously trying to study, I go to the library in the morning, when my classmates are in session. I enjoy my cup of coffee overlooking Ankeny and watching students scuttle around between classes. If it’s the afternoon or evening, I prefer to head to the Allen Reading Room (the Quiet Room) so that I can stay focused. Sometimes however, I go to the library to socialize. Yes, that doesn’t make sense. But on a Wednesday evening all of my peers have also found their way to the library. If I am procrastinating an assignment or if I don’t have much work to do, I station myself at one of the busiest spots in the library. I love being able to work and play in the same place.
Of course the heart and soul of campus had to end up on this list. Ankeny field is one of the top places on campus for many reasons: it’s aesthetically pleasing, it’s right in the middle of everything, and it’s a space to run around. On a sunny afternoon on campus, the field is filled with students playing frisbee or an Intramural sport. Between classes, it swarms with students walking from one place to another and stopping to chat as they pass their peers. Ankeny also hosts a variety of campus events and traditions, from the end of the year inflatables, to a spring semester midnight run. It holds the campus together and no one can come to Whitman’s campus without touching Ankeny once.
Hall of Science
I am not a science major. I have taken a limited number of science classes in my time here so far. Yet the Hall of Science, in particular Steven’s Atrium, is one of the most inviting and high-end areas on campus. The way the building soaks in light through enormous windows makes other majors envious. The warm pools of light are also covered in greenery of various sizes and shapes.
The Science Building is the most successful building on campus at bringing the outdoors in. When I want a new space to study, I find a little secluded pocket by the windows. Interior design aside, it is also one of the most functional spaces on campus. It is a wonder how such a small liberal arts school manages to have a planetarium, observatory, two greenhouses, and numerous other gadgets that a science major would be able to identify.
The Off-Campus Studies Office
While the OCS Office is maybe not the place to hang out on campus, it is absolutely one of the most exciting. The OCS Office is a gateway into opportunities awaiting you in over 54 different countries around the world. I spent my last semester living in Prague, Czech Republic. I walked across bridges dating back to the 1300s and went to coffee shops with locals. My peers swam through protected reefs in Turks & Caicos and took safaris throughout Tanzania.
Though the OCS Office space is maybe not as loungeable as the other spaces, it makes this list because it is the only place on campus with a hyper-global connection. Everyone in that office is committed to helping you create a more international perspective. OCS is where theory meets practice, using every corner of the earth as a classroom.
Your First-Year Section
Nothing quite compares to the nostalgia Whitman students have about their first year residence hall. Whether we lived in Jewett, Anderson, Lyman, Prentiss, or North, our first-year section comes to symbolize many things: where we rested after long days at orientation, where we stayed up all night finishing our first real college paper, where we made friends that have guided us through our Whitman career, where we struggled, where we thrived.
Our first-year residence hall comes to epitomize all of the growth and change we have experienced during the transition from high-school to college. We wear those experiences with a fierce sense of honor. Our first-year residence halls connect us to those who have shared the space before us, and who will share the space after us. Something about the unique experience of each residence hall unifies us with students who once called it home, too.