"Pomona can be as small as you want it and as big as you want it to be."
Ian Sawyer knew he wanted to attend a small liberal arts college and he checked out several top schools. Pomona stood out for its warmth – not just the weather, but the students and faculty as well.
“People are always willing to help out,’’ he says. “It’s really open.”
Ian does his share to help out, too. He works at the College’s Volunteer Center, and has himself volunteered for an anti-sweatshop group and Pomona Valley Low-Income Services, a charitable group started by Pomona students. “It was really cool that a college student like me could, even in a small way, help people in the real world and put what you learn into action," he says.
“Everyone can help someone else in various aspects,’’ he adds. “I really like that idea of people sharing their talents to help others.”
Of course, he also pours plenty of time into academics. “It’s definitely a lot of work, but it’s never too much, it’s never unbearable. If it does become too much, professors are always willing to talk to you.”
Ian appreciates the wide variety of activities available for students, particularly the outdoors trips to places such as Big Sur and Joshua Tree. “The students are given the power to plan the events,’’ he says. “You definitely have a say in how the school is run.”
“With a small community, it’s been really easy to get to know different people and make connections. You are given a lot of power to change your destiny.”
While Ian was looking for a small college when he chose Pomona, he also appreciates the opportunity to take courses at the adjoining Claremont Colleges. “Pomona can be as small as you want it and as big as you want it to be,” he says. The consortium “really expands the variety of classes you can take, there’s a lot more organizations you can join, there’s a lot more people you can meet without having to give up the sense of community.”
But some of his best times so far, have been simple games of beach volleyball or Ultimate Frisbee after class. “My best memories are just playing pickup beach volleyball on a Friday afternoon,’’ he says. “Just having fun with each other.”