Labors of Love: Behind the Scenes of the Spring 2015 Preview Pitzer Program

What is the cost of the Preview Pitzer Program? There’s no amount in American dollars (that I can disclose here at least) that can cover the true cost of Pitzer College’s biannual Preview Pitzer Program. We, the program’s coordinators, interns and support staff, pay for the program in time and sleep more than any monetary metric can measure, but it’s worth every last Z and waking moment spent. No matter how many we’ve experienced, the night before every program – Christmas Eve if you will – butterflies still fill our stomachs. I experienced the same sensation as a participant four years prior, but I never thought the feeling would last.

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Planning commences early – almost immediately following the close of the previous program. Tasks are divided up between Diversity Interns old and new, outgoing and incoming. Sometimes we take turns swapping tasks; matching students with classes, host recruitment, off-campus activity coordination, affinity group planning, snack-buying, snack-eating, etc. Most times we focus on a few of our favorite things. For example, the class-matching torch was passed down to me, and I will hand off the flame once I graduate (hopefully). When Christmas morning finally arrives, I can’t help but shower newly arrived prospective or admitted participants with inquiries about their classes all the while not caring what their perplexed, and maybe a bit terrified, expressions reveal: these expressions might say “Why are you so excited?” or hint “She needs to chill out on the free coffee.” The latter is probably true, and the former is because we all feel like Santa Claus on Preview Pitzer Program weekend, or at the very least Oprah back in the early 2000s when she hosted her annual “Favorite Things” episodes: “You get a class!” It is truly magical when a bunch of aggregated data on Excel sheets comes to life as a fully-functioning program, but like Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or any annual occasion where gift-giving stakes are high, there are inevitable fails.

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Due to a lack of knowledge of industrial landscapes, I had no idea what a smokestack was, so when I was given a task to set up camp on Huntington Beach, my failure to properly identify these mythical “smokestacks” resulted in 40 participants and coordinators walking more than a mile against the wind to find my bonfire. Most recently, an unprecedented change in In N’ Out’s credit card protocol resulted in fries and burgers served up “fresh” at two different locations. The Preview Pitzer Program is well-practiced, but always full of surprises. The Program staff has learned to expect the unexpected, and each straggler for the 5 am Saturday morning trip back to the airport, premature exit off the freeway, or temporarily missing participant (we always get them back), only makes our relationships with each other and the program as a whole, stronger.

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Kepa Barrett Diversity InternKepa Barrett ‘17, a fellow Diversity Intern eloquently describes the loving spirit of Program coordination efforts:

“The Diversity Team puts countless hours of work into making the program successful for our students. We do it in the name of love!”

DSC_5100Mattie Ross ‘12, Assistant Director of Admission and Head Coordinator of the Preview Pitzer Program, had this to say about our labors of love behind-the-scenes:

“There is nothing more rewarding to me than ensuring equity and access in Pitzer’s admission process…There is a lot of planning that goes into the whole event, but it’s all worth it once students are on campus. I loved watching who chose to enroll and become a future Sagehen! Chirp!”

11202957_492879530861825_1520463751832842233_nNatalie ‘17, one of the newest additions to the Preview Pitzer Program team, is appreciative of the unique opportunity to meet future peers through the Program’s work:

This was my first time being involved with the Preview Pitzer Program and I had a really great time working with the other interns, as well as the Admission Staff…It was really amazing to have the opportunity to meet my potential future classmates. Everyone brought their own element to the program.

Sure we get paid, but money is ephemeral. We do it for the participants who we see a bit of ourselves in, to work toward an increase in the number of multi-everything, not just multi-ethnic, individuals with unique perspectives within our community, and of course, for the love of each other – our ever-expanding Preview Pitzer Program family.


Posted by Kara Powell ’15, Media Studies and Organizational Studies

Kara Powell Diversity Intern

Turn, Turn, Turn

As the seasons change, so do our jobs. With Fall rapidly giving way to Winter the admission staffs at colleges across the country are returning home from the road, unpacking their roll-aboard suitcases, and settling back into their offices on campus. Those of you who have been following along know that I have been living in Boston for about a year, since I graduated from Pitzer. Well, California, I’m back!

The month of November brings several important events to Pitzer College. Last week we brought more than 40 students from across the nation who come from underrepresented ethnic backgrounds to the Claremont Colleges to gain greater knowledge of Pitzer the Claremont Consortium as part of our Fall Preview Pitzer Program. Pitzer Diversity Interns Alyshia Silva, Jose Barriga, and Maricela Ledezma worked with Graduate Admission Fellow Fernando Calderon and Assistant Director of Admission Constance Perez to plan travel logistics, meals, residence hall hosts, a five-college scavenger hunt, and capped the program with attendance at SCAMFest (the Southern California A Capella Music Festival, hosted by the Claremont Colleges).

Alyshia Silva ’12 reflected on the program after saying goodbye to our prospective students: “As tiresome as it most undoubtedly was, I cannot express the great pleasure it was to see all 43 students bond and fall into the place that I call home.Whether seeing them take their facebook photos together and asking for each other’s numbers, nothing can beat the pure satisfaction at seeing their faces when it came time to say goodbye to Pitzer and each other. Afterwards, via email, facebook, and phone calls, Constance received plenty of gushing from the Diversity Participants who swear to see us in little less than 8 months…”

The program coincided with the first of two Pitzer Preview Days this semester. Pitzer Preview Days are an opportunity for studentsto visit us and hear more about our community from students, staff, and faculty as well as to see the campus for yourself. Our last Preview Day of the semester is this coming Friday, November 16. If you would like to attend our next Preview Day, please call the Office of Admission at (909) 621-8129.

So what’s up next, you might be wondering? This week we’ll be reading and deliberating on our Spring Transfer applications. As soon as that’s done, our Early Decision applications will be ready to read, followed by all of our Regular Decision candidates; and so the Winter reading cycle goes.

In a few days I’ll be back with the next installment of Beyond Buzzwords (stay tuned to see which one we’ll be tackling). Leave me a comment or send me an email if there’s a topic that you’d like me to write about as well. I don’t do it for my health…it’s all for you!

Congratulations to Emily Kleeman of Chicago for identifying the great Buddy Guy as the singer in the video from last week’s blog post. This is the last installment of Where in the World is Cecil the Sagehen (for a while, at least). As usual, if you can figure out where Cecil has traveled from the pictures below, we’ll send you a prize. Email me at [email protected] with your answers.

Enjoy the turning of the seasons!

Salmon Street Portland ORCecil inside the mall of america

Posted by Adam Rosenzweig, Admission Counselor


May 1

So last Friday was May 1. You know what that means, it was decision day!!!!

For all of you high school seniors, this marks our joint trip through the admissions process (remember this is my first time seeing it all the way through from the other side of the desk). Once you get that card in the mail, which hopefully you have already done, take a moment take a big breath and give yourselves a pat on the back. You deserve it!

Even though my first cycle is coming to a close it has still been a busy time of the year for me. We just had our two Admitted Student Days, which went very smoothly. Here are some pictures

Peter Nardi our acting President giving the welcoming speech.

PeterAnd here are all the students with their parents.

students at openingTake a look at Sol leading an awesome tour:

Sol's tourAnd we can’t forget two of our blog winners showed up. Jacey came to say hello and offered to give me capoeira lessons next year (don’t forget Jacey, I may take you up on that offer) and Jon Rice also came. He even had the foresight to bring his Cecil with him.

Jon and Cecil 1Aren’t they are great team!

The next week’s Admitted Student Day also coincided with our Spring Preview Pitzer Program. This means I spent the whole week running around making sure everything was ready, but the lack of sleep was worth it and we had an AMAZING time!

On Friday we went to the beach and it was a blast. Check out the pictures from our trip.

Here is my van on the way to the beach. It is a little blurry, but still the best van group EVER (P.S. Don’t worry I didn’t take the picture while driving, Tim took it).

VAnHere we are at the beach:


beach 2

beach 3

Beach 3.5

Beach 4

Beach 5

We also hired 2 new interns for the program, Bryce Coefield and Maricela Ledezma. I don’t have a picture of Maricela with me, but here is a picture of Bryce

BryceAfter the Preview Pitzer Program there was no rest for Danny. On Tuesday I hopped onto a plane to New Jersey for Spring College fairs. They were a lot of fun! I haven’t been to NJ before so it was a brand new experience for me. Although I must admit I was less than thrilled with driving in NJ, I don’t like roundabouts.

Overall the fairs were fun. I say overall because my GPS decided to take me the longest roundabout method possible to get me from school to school. I would have to say one of the high points of my fair trips was getting to see Watu Poe one of our admitted students when I visited the Peddie School. I even was able to coerce him into taking a picture with Cecil.

WatuAfter NJ I finally got some downtime and went to visit some friends in New York. This was great because I have only been to NY on one other occasion, and I was sick 2 out of 3 days. This time was much better. I refrained from doing any touristy activity and instead spent time with my friends in Central Park and went to the Tribeca Film festival. Overall I had a great time, but am ready to stay in my own time zone for a while.

Well it is time to get back to reading transfer files, but I wish you all luck with the last few weeks of school before summer.

Posted by Danny Irving, Admission Counselor

Danny Leaps for joy