College Spotlight: Wartburg College
Freshman Year Update
By Olivia Foster
College Expert Counselor: Ryan Luse
When I first heard about Wartburg College, I was turned off by it’s name, but after visiting several times and learning more about the college, I fell in love. Wartburg is a small liberal arts college with a close-knit community of students. Everyone is really friendly and will happily talk to you or say hi in passing.
Wartburg College is located in the small town of Waverly, Iowa. Iowa might not seem like a very interesting place to go for college, but Waverly is a cute town that has a lot of the same opportunities as a big city. The Cedar River is a ten-minute walk from the college, and it can be a relaxing place to walk when the weather’s good. Waverly also has lots of places to hang out on weekends, like restaurants and parks.
Wartburg might be located in a small town, but it makes up for it with a plethora of on-campus activities. For example, Wartburg celebrates Outfly, which is a day during the first seven weeks of the term when all classes are cancelled and replaced with a bunch of fun things to do, like T-shirt decorating, bouncy houses, and a dunk tank.
Because Wartburg is in Iowa, there is also a large number of presidential candidates and other politicians that have visited the Wartburg campus or have come to Waverly. During the 2020 presidential campaigns both Elizabeth Warren and Andrew Yang have come to Wartburg to speak, which is a great opportunity for students to become politically involved. Pete Buttigeig also spoke at the Waverly-Shell Rock High School, which is only a fifteen minute walk from the Wartburg campus.
Wartburg also has lots of student clubs and organizations, some of which are academic or professional and some are just for fun. There are clubs for all of the majors as well as media clubs like PRSSA, a public relations organization which I am part of. There are also dance clubs and even an ultimate frisbee club. There’s a club for everyone, no matter what you’re interested in.
For me, the best thing about Wartburg is how much the campus seems like home. Since Wartburg is a small college, you will see someone you know everywhere you go. Professors are also especially welcoming and friendly. They are kind of like parents away from home in the way that they will let you come to their office at any time.
Another thing that makes Wartburg truly special is the service dogs that you can see all over campus. Wartburg has a partnership with Retrieving Freedom, which is an organization that trains and places service dogs. Several Wartburg students are training service dogs, so there are dogs in classes and walking around campus. The sad thing is that the dogs are normally working, which means that you can’t pet them. It’s still adorable to have a dog curled up next to you while you’re in class.
To help students adjust to college life, Wartburg has a four-day orientation at the beginning of the year. There are lots of activities and games for students to do during orientation to get to know each other. Students go through orientation with their IS 101 class, which is a class that all freshmen take during the first semester to get them accustomed to college classes. Your IS 101 class becomes kind of like your family at college because you bond during orientation and classes. I know that the people from my IS 101 class will be my friends for the next four years.
Academically, Wartburg is mostly known for its amazing music program. Other than that, Wartburg also has really good programs for the sciences, elementary education, and communication, which is my major. Classes are designed to give students experience in their major that will be useful in a career. For example, for my journalism and communication classes, I’ve learned how to write for different types of media, like newspapers, online or radio. I’ve also gotten experience using a recording booth and operating cameras for the on-campus TV station, KnightVision, all in my first semester. This experience will come in handy when I get a job after college.
After being at Wartburg for a few months, I have found a place that feels like a home away from home. Most of the people that I’ve met have been super open and welcoming, and Wartburg makes it easy to make new friends. This is a place where anyone can grow and be supported to chase their dreams.