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Yeah, A Lot Goes On Here During The Summer

Jim Amidon — My colleague Steve Charles and I were talking last week and we both remarked how frequently we get asked, “So, do you guys at Wabash have summers off?”

Easy answer: “No!”

Talking about that got us both mumbling and grumbling. But Steve did what he always does — he creatively imagined a special section in Wabash Magazine devoted to what happens across campus during the summer months.

It’s true. There are scores of people in our community — and a good many Wabash alumni — who think the place pretty much closes down once reunion weekend is over.

No, we don’t offer summer classes for credit, but there are plenty of staff, students, and faculty hard at work.

Here’s a sample:

The folks in the Advancement Office are working their tails off to reach the Annual Fund goal. Our fiscal year ends today and it appears for certain we will surpass our goal of $2.85 million in gifts to the College designated for the Annual Fund.

That’s meant hundreds of phone calls, emails, and personal visits on the part of the staff. We did a couple of direct mail campaigns and reworked stories on the website every day down the stretch.

Meanwhile the team in the Business Office is pulling double duty. They’re trying to get the budget in place for the new fiscal year, which starts tomorrow, and simultaneously closing out the books on this year. What is their reward for completing both tasks in the span of a few weeks? Just a month-long visit from the auditing firm, that’s all.

Perhaps you read last week that there were a couple hundred wrestlers on campus for a camp that included two Olympic champions as teacher/coaches. There were also tennis and basketball camps last week, along with a soccer camp earlier in the summer. The Opportunities to Learn About Business summer program, which brings 60 high school seniors to campus, begins in two weeks.

The Campus Services group never slows down. They take time in the summer when they have access to classrooms to fix and upgrade the facilities and put fresh coats of paint on about every vertical surface at the College. And thanks to the late-spring wind and storms, we’re removing several tons of damaged trees.

My colleagues in Public Affairs are upgrading the website, wrapping up one large issue of Wabash Magazine and another smaller, commemorative version, preparing four publications used during the academic year, and we shot a recruitment video early last week (picture above right). Not much going on, really.

While we were out shooting the video across campus, I had the opportunity to see how many students are working here this summer. There are students working with science professors in Hays Hall on important research. Other students are working with Director Tim Lake on historical research conducted through the Malcolm X Institute of Black Studies that traces the early history of African Americans in the state of Indiana.

Another 13 students are completing their Present Indiana projects that range from the history of Crispus Attucks High School to the Rails to Trails system across the state. And another dozen students are wrapping up an intense eight-week Business Immersion Program.

Still other students are interning in the Schroeder Center for Career Development, the Center of Inquiry in the Liberal Arts, Lilly Library, and the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion.

So, yes, there is a lot that goes on at Wabash during the summer. But the pace is different. The energy level is off slightly simply because the students aren’t here in their regular routines.

And hard as it is for me to believe, the students will return to prepare for the fall semester in a little over a month. That’s about when I’ll not only be ready for vacation, I’ll really, really need one!