Dear Echo Staff,
This is a response to Sarvis’ “To Stay or Not to Stay, That is the Question.” For most, not all prospective students coming in are fascinated and glamorized by the hippie dippy culture of Warren Wilson College and Asheville that they may forget or overlook the service, academic and work program missions of the college. Yes, Warren Wilson College is considered one of the most liberal and radical colleges out there but it is still an educational institution. Students need to be more informed about what Warren Wilson actually represents. As President Solnick implied in his state of the college speech, we need to focus on what story we want to tell the nation and world about Warren Wilson. So a better description is a picture of a diversely experienced student body and staff more than just the green thumb hippie who wants to stop Monsanto, remove all the invasive species and play the banjo all night long (as a disclaimer I do all three of those things but I’m not limited to that).
So I think two possible focuses for retention of students is helping them understand and cope with their new responsibilities within the Warren Wilson community and surrounding areas and understand their sense of place here in Asheville and in Swannanoa. Students are coming from all over the nation and world with various experiences to a small liberal arts college in the South that requires them to not only learn academically but change social norms and issues through service and contribute their fair share to the college through a 15 hour work contract. And I think that it would give students a better understanding of their niche within this new community they come to.
Peace and Blessings,