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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Get interested: Wellstone House

<itor’s note: Get Interested is a weekly feature on different interest houses.

In the Carleton community, activism is a way of life. From po­­­litical campaigning to social activism, Carls use numerous student organizations to get involved at both the local and international level. One resource for students seeking to improve their community is WHOA, the Wellstone House of Organization and Activism.

Six years ago, WHOA was established in Chaney House to “carry on [late professor Paul] Wellstone’s legacy through the type of work he did when he was a professor here,” explained house manager Nathan Yaffe ’11.

This year, WHOA moved to Jewett House, at the corner of Third and Union Streets. From its new location, WHOA provides a “net of support” for students’ social justice projects.

When WHOA first started out, it focused exclusively on a single cause.

“At the beginning,” Yaffe said, “they tried to have a single focus be the organizing cause of the year.” However, the house’s residents have since decided to expand their vision, and work on each other’s social justice projects. Frequently, WHOA occupants are also members of activism-focused student organizations such as MPIRG and Engineers Without Borders.

Coming up with a project is not a prerequisite for potential WHOA residents, but a willingness to support house causes is. For example, the house keeps a vegetarian diet, and this year began to incorporate bulk rather than packaged foods in an attempt to reduce waste. This way, the residents’ interest in activism manifests itself in day-to-day living.

Members of the Carleton community are welcome to use WHOA’s resources: everyone can propose a project for which they want support. In addition, WHOA reaches out to the larger Carleton community through hosting events like Wellstone Week, and training people in organization. Finally, every Wednesday night, the house hosts discussion dinners, each focusing on a new topic.

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