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WWC # 4 among Sierra Club’s ‘10 Coolest Schools’

Swannanoa Gathering attracts rock ‘n’ roll legend

Students receive prestigious study abroad awards

Swimming for a cause

In the Media

Featured Events


Homecoming and Family Weekend–October 2-5, 2008



Inside Warren Wilson College

Events Calendar

Owl & Spade


The Story Behind

Alum Outcomes

WWC on YouTube

WWC Admission Crew Student Blog

Physics Photo of the Week

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Sierra Magazine

Warren Wilson # 4 among Sierra Club’s ‘10 Coolest Schools’

A recent surge in green initiatives by public universities couldn’t dislodge Warren Wilson from another top four ranking among Sierra magazine’s “10 Coolest Schools” in the fight against global warming. The feature is the cover story of the Sept./Oct. issue of Sierra, the nation’s largest environmental news magazine.

2008 is the second consecutive year that Warren Wilson has ranked first in the Southeast and in the top four schools nationwide. Warren Wilson is the only school in Sierra’s top 10 with fewer than 2,000 students—in stark contrast to huge public universities such as Arizona State (51,500 students) that also landed in the top 10.

In the article titled “Cool Crowd,” Sierra writes of Warren Wilson:
“Forgoing football games and frats, Warren Wilson’s Fighting Owls work 15 hours per week plowing the college’s organic fields or helping with ecofriendly building projects.”

According to the magazine, the top schools earned points in 10 categories: policies for building, energy, food, investment, procurement and transportation; curriculum; environmental activism; waste management; and overall commitment to sustainability. A perfect score in every area would give a school 100 points. Warren Wilson scored a total of 88.5, behind Middlebury College (93), University of Colorado at Boulder (91.5) and University of Vermont at Burlington (91). The only other college or university in the Southeast to crack the “Cool Schools” top 10 was the 50,000-student University of Florida, which ranked No. 7.

Students receive prestigious study abroad awards

Lindsay Sutton Roberts, a senior majoring in psychology, has been selected as a recipient of the nationally-competitive Freeman Awards for Study in Asia < http://www.iie.org/freeman-asia>. Roberts will receive $5,000 to support her study abroad at Kansai Gaidai University in Japan, where she will study Japanese language as well as topics in psychology and sociology related to Japanese culture.

Kayleigh Burgess, a senior from Marcellus, N.Y., is one of 700 outstanding U.S. undergraduate students to be awarded the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship for the 2008-09 academic year. Burgess will study in Tanzania this fall through the School for International Training. Gilman Scholars receive up to $8,000 to apply toward their study abroad program costs.

Warren Wilson maintains a wide variety of study abroad partnerships and opportunities in which students may broaden their international perspectives and interact with people of other cultures. More than 100 Warren Wilson students participate in academic international programs each year.

In the Media

WWC faculty, students to assist with Blue Ridge Parkway GIS project

Biologist sees impact of efforts all over WNC

How little we know—Study hints at depths of life in the Smokies


Featured Events

Homecoming and Family Weekend–October 2-5, 2008

Make plans now to attend the 2008 Homecoming and Family Weekend.


For more events, see the Warren Wilson College Events Calendar.

Michael Torres Biology professor Michael Torres with his first-year seminar during orientation week.

Triad Day marks 2008-09 academic year

After a busy orientation week for a record number of new students, the 2008-09 academic year kicked off on Triad Day, Monday, August 25, with more than 900 undergraduates. Triad Day offers a distinctive start to the College’s academic year, blending the academic, work and service components of Warren Wilson’s holistic approach to education. Students attended class, visited the service fair and reported to their campus work crews. At the end of the day students, faculty, staff and volunteers gathered for a picnic supper and music. After Triad Day, students settled in Tuesday for their first regular day of classes and work crew assignments, as the College embarked on its third year with Sandy Pfeiffer as president and first with Paula Garrett as vice president for academic affairs and dean of the College.

John Paul Jones

Swannanoa Gathering attracts rock ‘n’ roll legend

Former Led Zeppelin mandolin/bass player John Paul Jones was picking his borrowed banjo and sawing his fiddle around the Warren Wilson campus during the Swannanoa Gathering’s Old-Time Week July 20-26. Dressed in a khaki button-up shirt and Birkenstock sandals, Jones was enthused to pick with the large number of acoustic musicians at the Gathering.

Jones flew in from London with his wife and daughter to attend his first Swannanoa Gathering, on invitation from alumna Rayna Gellert ‘98, fiddler for the string band Uncle Earl, whose latest album Jones produced.

It is strange indeed to picture such a legendary musician eating Wilson burgers in Gladfelter, but as far as the majority of the Swannanoa Gathering population knew, he was just another picker. Despite his membership in one of the most popular rock ‘n’ roll bands of all time, Jones is the humble, retired rock-star wanting to be treated like any other participant at the Gathering.

“Even when Zeppelin was in its heyday, I was never one who wanted to be recognized or harassed,” Jones said. “I much preferred to sneak out the back door of the hotel to find some hippies to hang out with. The first two days of my classes here, nobody recognized me. After a while it sort of leaks out (chuckling), and I’ll get the occasional person asking me for an autograph,” he adds in his thick London brogue.

Jones has become interested in old-time music and instruments like fiddle and banjo only in the past few years; not surprisingly, he has picked them up with great enthusiasm and skill. His interest in roots music can be traced to the influence shared by the other members of Led Zeppelin. One thing about old-time music that seems to particularly captivate Jones is the instrumentation. Unlike rock ‘n’ roll, amps and roadies, old-time music uses acoustic instruments that can be pulled out of a case and ready to play in seconds flat.

Over the course of Old-Time Week he attended fiddle and banjo classes. “I really enjoy the campus,” Jones says. “When I went to school in London, we had nothing even closely resembling Warren Wilson.”

In good humor and all seriousness, Jones shared some final words of wisdom for aspiring musicians: “I have never had a real job in my life. If you really love music, then you should get paid for it. You might start out small, but take anything you can get.”

By Chris Lininger ‘10

Swimming for a cause

Economics/business administration major Katie Spotz ’08 recently completed a 325-mile swim on the Allegheny River to raise awareness for the Blue Planet Run Foundation , which works throughout the world to help communities gain access to clean drinking water. You can read a story about Katie’s amazing effort in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Her next adventure? In December 2009, she plans to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean, from Senegal to French Guiana, to raise money for Blue Planet.