The number of Pomona College sponsor applications dropped significantly this year.
According to the Pomona College website, about 35 percent of freshmen apply each year to be sponsors. This year’s 110 applicants out of a class of 391 make up only 28 percent of the Class of 2013.
Last year, 55 males and 80 females applied to the program, while this year approximately 55 males and 55 females applied.
The sponsor program is a residential life program in which all Pomona first-years are housed in halls with about 15 other first-years and two sophomore sponsors. The program is meant to ease the transition to college, create a safe and welcoming living space, and integrate first-years into campus life, according to the college’s website.
There are 28 sponsor groups on campus, for a total of 56 sponsors, half male and half female. Thus, about half the students who applied to be sponsors were awarded the position.
“I have heard that, compared to last year, many more students of color applied—there was better outreach to students of color this year,” Evyn Espiritu PO ’13 said.
New Head Sponsor Joe LaBriola PO ’12 confirmed that a significant number of minority students applied to be sponsors this year.
He added that the Head Sponsors found this encouraging and said he “sees this as a plus, as many have claimed that the sponsor program has disenfranchised minority groups in previous years.”
One of the sponsor program’s goals is to reach out to freshmen of all backgrounds, LaBriola said, so this is a step in the right direction for the program.
LaBriola and other students were not able to offer a clear reason why fewer freshmen applied this year.Some students suggested the program and applications were not well advertised.
Other students, however, felt advertising should not be necessary.
“The sponsor program is one of the main appeals of Pomona, and when you come here as a prospective student you hear a lot about it,” Amy Li PO ’13 said. “Most people either really want to be a sponsor or just don’t. It’s something that you should be really excited about—it doesn’t need to be advertised.”
Ben De Winkle PO ’13 agreed, saying he felt the program essentially advertised itself.
“Being from across the country and not knowing anyone coming to Pomona, it was nice to have an instant group of friends,” he said. “So I really want to be a part of the program.”
LaBriola said the dip in applicants should not negatively affect the program.
“Last year might have been an anomaly in terms of the high number of applicants,” he said. “[The selection team] received…more qualified applicants than we could accept.”
Sponsor selections were announced last Tuesday, Mar. 30.