Community Service Year-End Celebration


Romanita Hairston, Vice President for US Programs for World Vision ( spent an engaging day on campus this past Monday, May 11, listening and responding to students from the service, faith and social justice orientation which informed her about both the Whitman and the Walla Walla communities. Through telling stories about herself coming from a poor childhood in Arkansas to being  the national leader she is today on child well-building and community transformation, Romanita compelled us to continue to “make service a life-choice, not a vocational choice.”

Over 120 Whitman students who participated in service events, trips, weekly programs,  internships, and fellowships in the local community were honored and thanked for being “actionists” – people who, at the end of the day are willing to do something for someone else. Also, prestigious Community Service awards were given to the following volunteers for outstanding and exceptional participation:

America Reads/Counts – Marci Parra

Adopt a Grandparent – Mary Welter

The Buddy Program – Isabel Mills

College Coaches – Clara Merlino

Events and Reflection – Nicole Hodgkinson

Green Park Bilingual – Carrie Walker

Mentor program – Alex Waheed and Callie Brown

Science Outreach – Willem Rasmussen

Spring Break Service Trips – Sarah Dunn (participant) and Molly Emmet (leader)

Storytime – Ali Holmes

Whitman Teaches the Movement – Drew Edmonds

Attendees were left with questions to ponder both individually, and in community – What is shaping you?  What do you worship?  Are you willing to be a person of paradox who is willing to be uncomfortable with the coexistence of both pain and hope?

Unsolicited feedback has been so very positive about this year-end celebration of service.  As Rachel Palfini shared, “… in my religion class, multiple people told me how much they enjoyed Romanita’s key note. One student had mentioned that at these types of events, she knows what to expect from the key note, but how Romanita surprised her and really tackled tough issues in a lighthearted manner. Great job on getting us a fantastic key note addressee!”

In President Bridge’ final Union Bulletin article, he thanked the Walla Walla community for welcoming “Whitman volunteers into schools, community organizations and agencies which helps the College achieve the well-rounded education we define as part of our institutional mission.”



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