Whitman, A Users' Guide
Like any community, Whitman College has its own spaces, traditions, and terminology. Below are explanations of some potentially unfamiliar terms you might encounter here.
N.B. – Within Whitman - Each residence hall is named, but there is also a letter associated with it that some university offices use for their own purposes. The letter appears next to the number on a room. The letters and corresponding halls are as follows:
A – Fisher Hall, B – Wendell Hall B, C – Wendell Hall C,
T – Murley-Pivorotto Family Tower, G – Hargadon Hall,
D – Lauritzen Hall, S – Baker Hall, F – 1981 Hall
Bathrooms - Yes, we know that you know what a bathroom is. But it’s useful for you
to know that although Whitman has a few suites with private bathrooms, in general the term bathroom refers to a hallway bathroom, since that is what most residents use. Lauritzen Hall is short on bathrooms (blame the architect, not us), but since the division between Lauritzen and Baker is difficult to notice from the inside (see “entryway” below), this simply means that Lauritzen residents walk farther down the hall than their Baker neighbors to reach a bathroom.
Bring-a-Faculty-Member-to-Dinner Day - Whitman provides meal passes for its students to host a professor at any meal. Hence, every day of the academic year is bring-a-faculty-member-to-dinner day at Whitman. This is distinct from the special faculty dinner (see below).
Chute – A trash chute. Unlike in other colleges, where students leave their trash in the
hallways, in Whitman students take their trash to trash rooms, which are located on every hall and have garbage and recycling chutes. Please be sure to bag all your trash; sending trash down the chute un-bagged is unsafe and unsanitary.
Cloister – The covered walkway with twelve arched openings along the south side of
Wendell Hall C.
College Administrator – The person in the college office responsible for reserving and
scheduling college spaces and coordinating with dining services, housing, and facilities.
College Council – The group of students who plan many of the community activities for the college. Such activities include the Whitman Olympics in the fall, Whitmania (a multi-day carnival) in the spring, Whitman Family Feud, and the Whitman Week of Community Service. The council chair leads the group, which includes representatives for academics, arts, athletics, civic engagement, communications, and social events. All classes are represented on the council (in the fall, the freshman class elects two representatives).
College Night – The one night a week when dinner in Community Hall is reserved for
Whitman students (at all other times any university student on a meal contract may eat here). College night is every Tuesday night during the semester and often features a special menu and entertainment.
College Office – Housed on the ground floor of Wendell Hall C and next to the library, the
offices of the college staff (Master, Dean, Director of Studies, Director of Student Life, College Administrator, support staff) are here.
Common Room – The living room of the college, located in 1981 Hall just off the
gallery (see below).
Community Hall – The dining hall in Whitman College. There are two private dining
rooms off of Community Hall, generally referred to according to their respective shapes: the Octagonal and the Rectangular (see below).
Core Group – The RCAs of the college (see “RCA” below).
Dean – The senior permanent administrative officer in the college, responsible for all
academic and residential matters of the college.
Diaspora – The juniors and seniors who are affiliated with Whitman but no longer live
in one of Whitman’s residence halls.
Director of Student Life – The college administrator responsible for maintaining the
social standards of the college. This person oversees the college council and the
residential college advisers (RCAs) and works closely with other university offices to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students.
Director of Studies – The college administrator responsible for academic advising and
intellectual programming. This person oversees the faculty advisers, resident graduate students (RGSs) and peer academic advisers and works closely with five assigned academic departments that develop relationships with the college for Major Choices programming.
Drawbridge – The stone bridge leading from the west roadway (and New South)
over the moat (see below) to the archway in Hargadon Hall. It is not a drawbridge, but that doesn’t stop anyone from using the appellation.
Entryway – A ground-level door into a stairwell in a residence hall. In many older
Princeton dormitories there are multiple entryways and no connecting halls between entryways, meaning that to access a room off a stairwell different from yours you must exit the building. In Whitman we have a combination of traditional entryways and long hallways that connect all parts of the college. So, for instance, if you’d like to reach a room on an upperfloor of Baker Hall (and you’re not already within the college), you’ll want to enter via an entryway in 1981 or Lauritzen and then walk down the hallway to Baker. As noted at the beginning, you’ll know you’re in South Baker when room numbers are preceded by an “S.”
Faculty Adviser – For juniors and seniors, the faculty member assigned to them by their major department. For freshmen and sophomores, the faculty member assigned to them by the college office for course approval and general academic information. The faculty adviser for freshmen and sophomores may or may not be from a department that they intend to join, since the adviser’s job is to provide general curricular advice.
Fellow – A faculty member who affiliates with the college. Fellows take meals and attend events here, and they may also teach in our classrooms or serve as faculty advisers to Whitman freshmen and sophomores. We also have a small number of fellows who are administrative staff here at the university.
Gallery – The main entrance to the college off Elm Drive. Officially the
Guggenheim Gallery. Community Hall, the common room, and the theater are all accessible from the gallery.
Getting-from-Here-to-There Dinner Series – A special series of semi-formal dinners for upperclass residents of the college with prominent leaders from various professions. Hosted by the Master of the College.
Library – Located on the ground floor of Wendell Hall B and next to the college office, this is the most formal study space within the college as well as the main computer cluster. It would probably be more accurate to call this space a “virtual library,” since there are no books here except those that students bring themselves.
Major Choices – A university-wide initiative designed to help freshmen and sophomores explore departments and make informed decisions when choosing a major. Each college works closely with five assigned academic departments, but students are encouraged to attend events at all colleges.
Master of the College – A senior faculty member appointed to a four-year term to
oversee all aspects of college life.
Master Suite - Curiously, on maps throughout Whitman the college office is referred to as the Master’s Suite. In common usage, however, this space is only referred to as the college office.
Moat - The area to the west of Lauritzen, Hargadon, the Tower, and the ramp. Although not filled with water, this wooded area does dip down, and there is a bridge over it (see “drawbridge” above).
Moveable Feast - An umbrella term used to denote any college-sponsored programming that includes or is centered around food.
North Courtyard - The courtyard on the north end of the college, enclosed on three sides by Fisher Hall, Wendell Hall B, and Wendell Hall C. Officially the Chester Courtyard.
Octagonal Private Dining Room (PDR) - The private dining room entered through the doorway to the right of the fireplace in Community Hall. Officially the Class of 1972 Dining Room.
Peer Adviser - An upperclass student chosen to offer general academic advice and
information on specific programs and departments. Peer advisers regularly staff the advising fairs that occur each term in Community Hall.
Ramp - The long walkway along the west side of Wendell Hall B that leads down to
the archway in the Tower.
Rectangular Private Dining Room (PDR) - The private dining room entered through the doorway to the left of the fireplace in Community Hall. Officially the Class of 1998 Dining Room.
Resident Graduate Student (RGS) - A graduate student who lives in Whitman and is
part of our community. RGSs take meals here and provide social and academic programming to college residents.
Residential College Advisor (RCA) - An upperclass student who is selected to support and mentor assigned freshmen and sophomores and provide social programming (usually in the form of study breaks) and diversity programming to all college residents. The assigned group of underclass students is generally referred to as the ‘zee group (see below). As a group the RCAs are called the Core Group.
Residential Computer Consultant (RCC) - Undergraduate residents of the college who are trained to assist their fellow students with computer and networking problems. Yes, they do make house calls (or, more accurately, room calls).
Seminar Room - located at G100C (Hargadon Hall).
South Courtyard - The large, enclosed courtyard that forms the main quadrangle of the
college. Officially the Class of 1963 Courtyard.
Special Faculty Dinner - A semi-formal reception and dinner held once a semester.
Students sign up ahead of time to bring a faculty member as a guest.
Tower - The Murley-Pivirotto Family Tower, one of the residence halls.
Upperclass Social Hour - A biweekly event in the common room where juniors and
seniors mix over light food and drink (including alcohol for of-age students).
The Whitmaniac - The weekly college newsletter.
WhitmanWire - The open listserv for residents of Whitman College, spelled as one
word. Members of the listserv use this very handy list to post announcements, make requests, and ask and answer questions.
'Zee Group -Short for advisee group, this is the group of freshmen and sophomores
assigned to an RCA.