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

First Admitted Students on Campus!

Last Friday we hosted the first of two Admitted Student Days on campus. This is a hugely exciting event for us! After months of traveling, interviewing, reading, and deliberating we were excited to finally see some of the fruits of our labor. All admitted students were invited to visit campus either last Friday, or this coming Friday. Below, Megan Dooley ’10 leads an attentive tour.

Meghan's tourIt was a beautiful day in Claremont! Below, Associate Director of Financial AidYvonne Gutierrez-Sandoval speaks with an admitted family in front of our new Gold LEED Certified First Year residence halls.

Yvonne+familyIn the afternoon, Dining With Democracy (our student-coordinated lecture series) was hosting an event called Ayiti (“Haiti” in Creole) on the Mounds. The event included a panel discussion on various social and cultural perspectives on Haiti, a discussion of religion in Haiti, as well as some super fun drumming and dancing! Needless to say, it was a fantastic afternoon for admitted students to see what they have to look forward to.

Haiti dancersMany of us in the Admission Office reserve a moment during this exciting time of year to reflect on all of the applicants who we could not offer admission to. This was an incredibly competitive year at Pitzer, and many capable and qualified applicants were disappointed by the letter they received from us. Looking ahead, we sincerely hope that all students find a place that they are excited to call home for a few years, whether at Pitzer or elsewhere, and we remain thrilled with the students who will be joining us in the fall! Welcome aboard, class of 2014!

Posted by Adam Rosenzweig, Admission Counselor