"The administration cares about its students."
Walker Wall, the cinderblock canvas that serves as a forum for Pomona students' politics, ideas and even inside jokes, is a symbol of free speech that sits at the north end of campus. For Duncan Ariey, it's a symbol of what Pomona is all about.
"When I was looking at the 5Cs [before applying], someone who was familiar with the campus showed me around and I saw Walker Wall. They said, ‘Here's a wall where anyone can paint anything,'" recalls Duncan. "I thought that was really indicative of a school where I'd like to attend."
Duncan, who hales from Anchorage, Alaska, doesn't just bask in the sunshine of Southern California; he also takes full advantage of the opportunities available at Pomona and the five-college consortium. He spends his days in science classes as a chemistry major on the pre-med track, and unwinds by performing comedic improv with the 5C group Without a Box, playing racquetball (he took second in the Pomona-Pitzer tournament his freshman year), sitting on the Judicial Board of the College, and acting as a sponsor for one of Pomona's freshman sponsor groups.
On the weekends, Duncan tries to relax on Saturdays if he doesn't have an improv show, and he devotes Sundays to homework and dinner and rehearsal with Without a Box. Sometimes, he visits his girlfriend in San Diego, using the local train system, but otherwise sticks to the campus and local restaurants in the Claremont Village.
"The ‘bubble' is very existent for me, and I don't necessarily think that's a bad thing," says Duncan. "I don't feel confined. It's just that there are enough social and other activities within the 5Cs that I don't feel the need to leave campus. It's good because while Pomona is a small community, with the other 4Cs, you don't run out of people to meet."
One of the things that most impresses Duncan about Pomona are the measures, like Walker Wall, that the administration takes to improve the student experience. "I heard about the Judicial Board during orientation, and it was a really cool idea that students are in charge of the sanctions that are leveled against people who have violated the student code. It's the students who judge whether or not someone is fit to live in the College community or how serious their transgressions were," says Duncan. "I think it's really cool that the administration has decided to put that in the students' hands."
Another gesture Duncan tells prospective students about is snack. Four nights each week, Frary Dining Hall opens from 10:30 to 11:30 p.m. to give studying students a nourishing break. "I think it's indicative of the administration taking care of the students. It's free food provided for us just to facilitate a study break," says Duncan.
"The administration cares about its students. The sponsor group is indicative of that. Snack is indicative of that. The speed at which you get a reply if you e-mail someone in the Office of Campus Life is very indicative of that. And that's something you wouldn't get at a big university."