Student-athletes seek ease for WTE
By Kate Hampson

Published: Monday, April 27, 2009

With little free time in their schedules, many student-athletes are finding it hard to complete the Washburn Transformational Experience.

There are many options to choose from when deciding on a WTE, but a lot of these options take a lot of free time to complete. Some can even take as much time as student-athletes spend training and competing for their sport. So, frequently it can seem impossible for student-athletes to complete the WTE. And this is why the Washburn Student Government Association, the leadership department and the athletic department are working together to create a unique WTE for Washburn student athletes.

"We are trying to accommodate the student-athlete in a way that they will still be able to complete a leadership and community service project, while competing at the highest level," said Loren Ferre, Director of Athletics.

The main component of completing the WTE through athletics would be by taking a specifically-designed leadership class created around different athlete leadership roles, such as being a captain, helping coach at camps and being a representative for the Student Athlete Advisory Committee. Each WTE would be created around an athlete's specific skills and attributes.

"What we want to do is make this requirement of the WTE easier to fulfill, but still a very meaningful experience," said Garrett Love, WSGA president. "This class will help give the student athlete a proactive mindfulness of what they're doing for their WTE."

Love has first-hand experience about what it is like to be a student-athlete because he has been on the men's basketball team for the last three years.

"I think it would be a good step for WTE as collegiate athletics oftentimes is a very transformational experience," said Love.

A lot of hard work going into the creation of this "new" WTE and advocates hope is to have it in place by the spring of 2010. If the class and requirements are finalized for that semester, the first class of student-athletes required to complete the WTE will be able to complete it before graduation. This news is a relief to some student-athletes who feel as though they are running out of time.

"I couldn't figure out how I was going to complete the WTE, but this option gives me a little hope," said Nicole Perkuhn, a student and softball player. "And it sounds like it would be another great experience to add to my athletic career.

As for now, two football players are in the "pilot program." They are actively looking for different things student-athletes would like to see in the class. Customizing WTE to student-athletes is an attempt to make the WTE something students will enjoy more and worry about less.

"This is one of many steps we would like to take in the direction of a more user-friendly WTE," said Love.