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Should Rich and Powerful Alumni Dictate WWU Policy?

Should Rich and Powerful Alumni Dictate WWU Policy?

Yes and No, but Mainly No 

By Zack Macomber 

Walla Walla University first opened its doors in 1892, almost 130 years ago. Since then, it has educated over 50,000 students. [1] Of those 50,000, it is not hard to believe that many would want to give back to the University that educated them and helped them grow as young adults.  

Another blast from WWU’s past. Why does the bell-tower look so much bigger? 

Alumni are key parts to any university. WWU’s Alumni Association was established in 1917, and in 1981, the Havstad Alumni Center was built with help from donors and the committee of 500, a group of alumni and friends of WWU who continue to financially support various campus projects. [2] 

Many projects and buildings around the University have been completed through donations from alumni. This can be seen with Chan Shun Pavilion, Bowers Hall, The Atlas, and other buildings. These contributions are where the alumni’s impact is most noticeable and are probably the most appropriate space alumni impact to be.  

Alumni should be invested in the school, yes, but what about policy? The campus culture has changed so much in the past 10 years, and it is only going to continue to change as time goes on.   

While the Alumni Association can help influence the campus, they are limited by the bylaws in how they do so. The main people who have influence over the policies on campus are the members of the Board of Trustees.  

 Located on present-day Centennial Green, West Hall was a boys dormitory until

The Board of Trustees is made up of 29 individuals who meet with the president of WWU three times a year to stay up to date with what is going on. The Board of Trustees is responsible for “the overall government and welfare of the University, including matters regarding faculty, staff, students, and alumni.” [3] They also select the president, create goals, and approve the University budget.  

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The Members of The Board of Trustees are who truly wield power over the policies here at WWU, but should they? How involved are the members of the Board with the culture and quality of the University?  

The campus culture here at WWU is constantly changing. In fact, there have been and will to be significant changes in the culture due to the pandemic. Nearly 80% of the students who start their schooling on campus at the beginning of fall quarter next year will never have experienced a normal year at WWU. The current sophomores are experiencing their first spring on-campus at WWU. The current freshmen are just now able to attend in-person class, school events, and interact with other students.  

As the campus culture changes, policy will need to change as well. We should not allow our policies or alumni to keep us rooted in the past, but rather rely on them to support our progress as WWU moves to the future.  

References 

  1. Walla Walla University. (2020). A brief history of Walla Walla University. Retrieved from https://www.wallawalla.edu/about-wwu/history-of-wwu/
  1. Walla Walla University. (2020). WWU Alumni Association. Retrieved from https://www.wallawalla.edu/alumni/wwu-alumni-association/
  1. Walla Walla University. (2020). Board of Trustees. Retrieved from https://www.wallawalla.edu/about-wwu/administration/board-of-trustees/
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