IAN WARD ‘19 | ONLINE EDITOR • As many of us know, sophomore interviews are when sophomores officially declare their major, minor, and give an in-depth look at what
their Wabash experience is. The student life team, consisting of Dean
of Students Mike Raters ’85, Associate Dean of Students Marc Welch ’99,
Title IX Coordinator Heather Thrush, Director of Security Rich Woods, and Assistant Basketball coach Patrick Sullivan, conducts these interviews. “I remember the interview, however it was much less in depth that it is today,” Raters said. Part of this more in-depth approach is due to a change this year to an paperless interview system as now all interview information is collected through iPads.
According to Raters, this new approach is to simplify data collection and make looking at trends and similarities easier. The new system also provides a “rating of Wabash” section where interviewees can rate their Wabash experience on a standardized scale. This scale ranges from academic experience to specific areas such as faculty availability. One such area that seemed to be a non-factor is housing, since was little discussion on pros or cons. Overall, it is very clear that Wabash is doing things right as
students average around a 4 out of 5 in Wabash categories and above a 4 on there overall experience.
Apart from the ratings scale, the sophomore interview collects the major and minor intentions of the class. “The new electronic system makes this data tracking much easier,” Raters said. “Obviously, you get the intended Biology to Religion type cases,” Raters said, meaning that some students plan on being one thing and overtly change topic once arriving at Wabash College. As of February 15, the leading major of the class of 2020 is Economics. Regarding other majors of interest that are not offered, the class of 2020 has a lack of energy towards a Computer Science or Business major. “That has not been a point of conversation like in years past,” Welch said. According to Welch, about three years ago was the loudest talk of such a major in the sophomore interview process. As far as Business major question, the lack of conversation was essentially the same from Welch’s perspective.
However, even though sophomore students are largely happy at Wabash and are enjoying their overall experience, there are also similar trends across the class regarding desired changes on campus. “The first thing is Campus Unity,” Raters said. Campus
unity is a complex topic, Raters and Welch explained. “You have four types of campus unity, Independent and Greek relations, Independent and Independent relations, Greek and Greek relations, and relations that
have no residential life requirement at all,” Welch said. “The challange we are trying to tackle is how to solve these four sub issues within a greater scope of campus unity.”
One event Welch attributed to trying to help this is Casino Night, as it gathers a large group of men from across the spectrum to unify the campus. Another thing that the Dean’s office is challenged with is using the Robbins Family Fund to schedule events that all students will enjoy, and Welch attributed to recent events that get students involved. Another facet of Campus unity Raters stressed was sports attendance. “One of my favorite stories from this year is a football player telling me that we need to support [other sports like] basketball more and not just football,” Raters said. Also, Raters stressed creating better attendance at games that do not simply involve DePauw University. “How do we get students excited to go see a game against Hiram as much as DePauw?” Raters said. “That is what we are looking at.”
Another topic of discussion regarding how to make campus was hours at the Allen center and food service hours. “The weekend hours at the Allen Center have been a topic for sure,” Welch said. “The issue is how do we address staffing in the facility for our students?” Another issue within the Allen Center discussion included that of Knowling Fieldhouse hours, as where sports practices used to be from 4:20-6, however know go into the night hours interfering with drop-in basketball. Darian Phillips ’20 agreed with the notion that Allen Center hours are an issue. “I wish the hours were more open for activities, especially on weekends,” Phillips said. Along with that notion was the lack of “late night” at Sparks Center this year, as the decision to create such a program came out of sophomore interviews a few years ago. “Those are things we will look at for sure,” Welch said.
So, as you can see overall, students love Wabash, but there is always room for tweaking a system, making the greater Wabash experience even better.