Whittier College and Community Service


The Corporation for National and Community Service has named California’s to Whittier College to its list of colleges with good community service records. According to an article by Tracy Garcia at the Whittier Daily News:

Whittier College was among 114 postsecondary schools to be named to a national “honor roll” for its efforts in volunteerism, service-learning and civic engagement among students and faculty that has produced positive results throughout the local community.

In the last several years Whittier has made extra efforts to engage with the community. Students teach gym classes to elementary school students, build gardens to feed the homeless, and recently created a Center for Engagement with Communities, a community service development center headed by a Whittier professor.

This, naturally, is something we at the Monthly fully support. Community service helps students to engage in the world and understand the problems people often face in different environments. Community service projects undertaken by institutions of higher learning can also help offset funding problems that many local organizations are experiencing due to the recession.

That being said, the community service hall of fame, impressive though that no doubt is, has not (and in fact will never) allow Whittier to remove the stain of Richard Nixon from its public image.

In 1973 President Nixon tried to eliminate the federal Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO)’s community action agencies, the local agencies responsible for fighting the war on poverty at the community level, after Daniel Patrick Moynihan wrote that the community action program was ineffective at reducing poverty.

Nixon is Whittier’s most famous (indeed the only famous) graduate. He earned a B.A. in history from the school in 1934.

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Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer