By Shannon G.
Warren Wilson is a small private liberal arts college nestled in the mountains of Asheville, North Carolina. It is noted for its 300 acres of working farm and market garden as well as its 600 acres of forest, which provides the surrounding areas with 25 miles of beautiful hiking trails. The college has about 1,000 students, 900 of them being undergraduates and 100 being postgraduate students. The undergraduate program is run based on the Triad, a program that requires all students to complete 100 hours of community service in their four years, work 15 hours a week on campus all four years, and also earn 128 hours of academic credit in order to graduate.
Warren Wilson started out as Asheville Farm School in 1894 after the land was purchased by a Presbyterian church in 1893 whose goal was to afford better education to Americans living in isolated areas. In 1942, the school merged with Dorland-Bell School in Hot Springs, NC and formed a co-ed secondary school. After World War II, education in North Carolina drastically improved and the need for high schools diminished, allowing Warren Wilson to become a four year college that offered six majors.
The college also has over 100 work crews whose work ranges from working on the farm to cooking for the vegetarian/vegan Cowpie Cafe. The campus also maintains 14 residence halls, including Sage Hall, which has the student-run coffee house, which provides space for open mics, bands, studying, and food. As well as the activities run by WWC itself, once a week the Old Farmers Ball hosts a contra dance, providing the students and community with music, a fun activity, and new people to meet (like MFA graduate student actor James Franco).
Nora White will be a senior in the fall. She came to Warren Wilson all the way from Washington State. She found out about the college from an alumni who she played the fiddle with when she was 15. Warren Wilson was the only college that she applied to, and when she began she was planning on majoring in an aspect of agriculture; however, now that she is a senior, she is a sociology and anthropology major with a minor in music. Nora really enjoys the close atmosphere of Warren Wilson and that each student is responsible for his or herself. She also really enjoys how inclusive and community-like the campus is because 90% of the students live on campus. Another “awesome” thing about WWC is that when going to school here, a student must work on a work crew. Now what’s great about this to Nora is that the student can either major in agriculture and then also work on the farming crew or he or she could be a biology major and work as an electrician; therefore, the student could graduate with a bachelors in biology but also as a certified electrician, giving them a degree and a certification in a trade.
Students at Warren Wilson love the trade aspect of the school as well as the campus and consider them the real selling point on whether or not they attend. They also love what a great community Warren Wilson itself has created, and how inclusive it is, making it a truly different campus with lots of different people.