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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

WHOA: House of student activism eliminated

< separate the life you live from the words you speak!” –Paul Wellstone.

For three years, the Wellstone House of Organizing and Activism (WHOA) has worked tirelessly to promote student engagement in activism, politics, and community organizing, yet the Residential Life department has decided to eliminate WHOA for the upcoming year.

Paul Wellstone, a former Carleton professor and US Senator empowered students to become activists and organizers and transform their education into a living reality.  Wellstone died tragically in 2002, but WHOA seeks to keep his vision alive.

In our house, we host trainings, guest speakers, and weekly events on a range of social and political issues.  Through these events, we foster collaboration among student groups and provide a space for activists to meet, network, build relationships, and learn how to effectively fight for what we believe in.

WHOA is truly a community space which provides a unique opportunity for students to transform activism from a task into a lifestyle.  We share the joys and challenges of communal living and engage in passionate discussion over home-cooked meals.  Community is at the heart of community organizing, and it is through building relationships that students gain the power and knowledge to impact our society.

The vibrant community that WHOA creates is a valuable asset to residential life at Carleton.  We have received more than double the number of applicants that our ten person house can accommodate, yet the house is being terminated.  We seek to appeal this decision because we do not see any grounds on which it is justified.  In its own words, Res Life strives to create a “thriving environment where students can gain experience, be involved and develop their interpersonal, academic, and leadership potential” and “have the opportunity to learn about citizenship and responsibility by developing community standards.”  All of these goals are central to our work at WHOA, and eliminating this house is a slap in the face to our dedicated residents.  Far more seriously, the decision denies students the opportunity to live in WHOA next year and undermines the activist community we have spent the past three years building.

We appreciate the outpouring of support from students, faculty, and staff across this campus.  If you are willing to write to Res Life in support of our house, we would be very grateful.

-Lizbee Collins-Wildman is a fourth year student and lives in WHOA House.

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