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


Announcements! Announcements!

This week we’re excited to announce the return of our “Where in the World is Cecil the Sagehen” competition! You’ve been reading about some of the travel that we’ve been doing around the country, and some of you may have already seen a Pitzer representative in your hometown. When we travel, we take Cecil with us, and Cecil loves taking pictures! If you can identify where Cecil is in one of each weeks’ pictures, then we’ll send you a prize in the mail! Honest! You can email me your answers by emailing me directly at [email protected]. Good luck with these pictures here, and keep an eye out for Cecil!

Galloway School with studentsKermit the Frog and Cecil Smithsonian Washington DCSun Studios Memphis TNWe are also very excited to announce that the application for our Fall Diversity Program is now available online! This program is designed specifically for students from underrepresented racial and cultural backgrounds from across the continental United States. Students selected for this program will have the opportunity to experience life at Pitzer College by staying in a residence hall, eating in the dining hall, and interacting with current students. If you are selected for the program, you will have your travel and expenses funded. There’s a lot more information about the program on the Admission website, so check it out!

Coming up this week we’ll be meeting students in Texas, Philadelphia, Greater Boston, Los Angeles, and elsewhere. Find out if a Pitzer representative is coming to your school sometime this Fall (your guidance/college counselor will know). If we can’t meet you in person this season, then you can still schedule a phone interview with someone in the office. Now is the time to start thinking about these things because our schedule does fill up! We will also be holding alumni interviews in some major cities across the country during the month of January, so keep your eyes open for those opportunities by checking back here every week.

Enjoy the new season, keep up the hard work, and have fun!

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

Lions and Sagehens and Gender Neutral Dragons…OH MY! Part 2

I am sure some of you are curious about how gender neutral dragons are relevant to Pitzer College and to this blog, and rightly so.

This summer one of our tour guides embarked on a crafts project of epic proportions and recycled old file sections into an art project. And thus Rudi the gender neutral dragon was born.

RudiSay hi to Rudi. We loved Rudi so much that he has become sort of an unofficial mascot for the admission office.

Rudi 2Rudi’s creator, Tim Campos, is a Junior at Pitzer and is double majoring in Sociology and Chicana/o Studies. On top of being a tour guide, Tim is one of our Diversity Interns. You can find out more about the program on our website:

Rudi 3Tim has been working hard and winning major points in the office, right now he is so hot that he is on fire! (Sorry I couldn’t resist the pun)

The fact that Rudi happens to be gender neutral happens to give me the opportunity to shamelessly tell you about Pitzer’s new housing policy. Starting this year, Pitzer has begun a gender neutral housing system. You may ask why and so I shall tell you.

Gender-neutral housing provides a living environment where student housing is not restricted to traditional limitations imposed by gender and/or sex definitions. This option is ideal for students whose gender expression, gender identity and/or biological sex varies from the standard paradigm and for students who believe that their gender and/or biological sex should not be limiting factors in roommate decisions. No student will be restricted by traditional limitations of gender identity, gender expression, biological sex or other identities pertaining thereto. All students will have the option to participate in, or opt out of, gender-neutral housing.

To completely change the subject I am going to be leaving for Texas tomorrow. So there probably won’t be any posts till later in the week. This will be my first trip for Pitzer!!! I am excited. If anyone has read this from Texas and they see me at a school visit point it out and give me any feedback you like. If you aren’t from Texas please feel free to post any comments about the blog or questions you may have about Pitzer in the comments section.

Wish me luck!

Posted by Danny Irving, Admission Counselor

Danny Leaps for joy