Observations from "A Week in the Life of Wheaton"

“We’re looking to capture a typical week at Wheaton on film, and we could use some help.” So read a message that went out to Wheaton’s students, faculty, and staff, requesting that they send their ideas about what to photograph to Wheaton’s Web Communications team.

Week in the Life of Wheaton

We (the Web team) expected to get a few replies.  After all, this was back in April; finals and graduation were right around the corner, and people were busy.

What we didn’t know is, when one asks Wheaton people for help, Wheaton people respond.  Invitations started coming in immediately:

“I would like to extend the invitation for your camera crew to stop by Friday afternoon tea in Fischer 3W…”

“You are invited to come to my night class, Anthropology thru Film, in which students lead discussion each Thursday night…”

“I am a student, and would like to suggest you photograph a meeting of Student Government. It's a great and wide selection of Wheaton students who love what they do…”

As ideas continued to pour in, it became obvious that the campus community was eager to tell Wheaton’s story.  Six days of photo shoots, 3,245 photos, 84 video clips, and a few cups of coffee later, we’d gained a richer sense of the student experience at Wheaton, and a deeper appreciation for why that experience is a life-changing one. Here are just a few of the observations about Wheaton’s campus community that our week-long journey brought to light:

Every gathering begins with prayer.

Each campus activity we observed was opened in prayer.  Concerts, class sessions, rehearsals—even Swing Dance Club—started with prayer.  These weren’t perfunctory, obligatory supplications, but thoughtful offerings reflecting an abiding love for Jesus and a desire to treat all we do and are as an act of worship.

Inside and outside the classroom, Wheaton professors take a lot of time for students.

Everyone here knows that Wheaton professors (and staff) spend time with students, but the week helped us grasp the extent to which they do so.  We constantly came across faculty members spending time with students: sharing the weekly “German table” dinner or a “dine with a mind” meal at the cafeteria, hosting a weekly meal at home, attending the Stupe live concert or gallery reception for senior art majors, and participating in a talkback session after an Arena Theater performance, to name a few instances.

There is no “typical” Wheaton student.

Aside from some core, common qualities, such as faith in Christ, friendliness, and curiosity, the diversity of interests, personalities, and backgrounds among the students we met was striking.

President Ryken shows up. 

There were some places where we expected to see President Ryken—say, at a meeting with the Senior Administrative Council or at Chapel.  But leadership appointments aside, Dr. Ryken was everywhere.  He, and in many cases his family, came to the Percussion Ensemble concert, had meals with students, watched the Twilight Track Meet at McCully Stadium, attended the Class Films Festival, took in an Arena Theatre performance, and more. 

A lot happens in a week at Wheaton.

An astonishing array of activities were packed into one little week, suiting a variety of interests. Perhaps the photos and videos can best illustrate the rest.  Experience a “Week in the Life of Wheaton” >

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