Wanting their students to have a well-rounded education, administration at Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa, North Carolina does not just focus on academics. Known as “The Triad”, administrators at Warren Wilson feel that sustainability ethics and cross-cultural understanding are also important for any college education. In order to graduate, students must not only pass their academic classes but work on campus and perform 100 hours of community service. In this way, administration hopes students will graduate with a “holistic, experiential education.”
Warren Wilson College is truly a liberal arts school as students have the option of studying more than 40 majors. The administrators feel that students should get a well-rounded education and therefore encourage students to take courses in a variety of subjects. There are common majors such as English and Political Science for students to choose from, as well as unique majors such as Outdoor Leadership and Appalachian Studies that are rarely offered at other colleges and universities.
When it comes to working on campus, there are over 127 opportunities for the roughly 900 undergraduate students to choose from. From landscaping to farming, students can work in departments that interest them, and that will ultimately help them not only finance their education, but help the environment and their community.
There are many options available to students when it comes to fulfilling their 100 hours of community service. These options include: resident life based activities, services while studying abroad, mentorships, and service with non-profits.
Warren Wilson College was formed in 1893 when the Women’s Mission Board of Home Emissions wanted to provide a proper education to underprivileged children in the mountain area of Swannanoa. Warren Wilson started off as an elementary school but later became a high school, junior college, and finally in 1967 a college. Furthermore, it was one of the first colleges to desegregate when it let Alma Shippy, an African-American student, attend classes and live on campus.
This private, co-educational college is located on 300-acres and surrounded by 600-acres of forest. When not studying, working, or serving their communities, students can take advantage of the numerous hiking trails and school-related activities readily available to them.
The campus has 14 residential campuses including the Eco-Dorm which is the only dorm certified as LEED Platinum in the nation. LEED Platinum is a prestigious recognition of eco-friendly buildings and designs. On their down time, students can hang out at Sage Cafe, a music venue and cafe on campus. They can also attend the Old Farmer’s Ball which features contra dances.
The college works with their students, offering them financial aid in the form of scholarships, grants, loans, and their famous work compensation program to foot the nearly $40,000-a year-bill. The work compensation program knocks off nearly $3,500 of a student’s tuition bill per year.
With 75% of Warren Wilson graduates fully employed within six months, they are able to pay back their student loans at a faster rate than other students who may not have been able to find a job. On average, students can expect to be $20,000 in debt upon graduation.