Student Life

The Honor Principle and Traditions

In 1905, the College adopted a social and academic Honor Principle that rests on the assumption that every member of the College will act with integrity in all aspects of life. Students grow into a fuller understanding of the Honor Principle as they become more engaged in college life. The Honor Principle is apparent in the interactions among students, in the expectation of respect for common spaces and resources, and by the trust shown in students during the administration of exams (i.e., unproctored and self-scheduled exams). Wilson’s mission states that the College prepares students for “ethical leadership and humane stewardship of our communities and our world.” That preparation begins here, in our own community.

The main pillars of the Honor Principle are to:

  • Demonstrate personal integrity.
  • Respect the dignity of all persons.
  • Respect the rights and property of others.
  • Respect diversity in people, ideas and opinions.
  • Demonstrate concern for others, their feelings and their needs for conditions which support their work and development.

Traditions are central to the Wilson experience, binding together generations of Wilsonians. They welcome and support our students and make them part of an encouraging, connected community. From convocation to commencement, traditions are an important part of the Wilson experience. Traditions include:

  • Sarah Wilson Week
  • Senior Night
  • Thanksgiving Dinner
  • White Dinner (formal dinner and dance)
  • Spring Fling
  • Christmas Vespers
  • Odd/Even contests
  • Baccalaureate
  • Class events
  • Bigs and Littles
  • Sophomore Buddies

Student Development

The mission of the Office of Student Development at Wilson is to create and model a student-centered environment that fosters the holistic well-being of the individual and community, while equipping all for meaningful engagement within and beyond Wilson College.

The office aspires to:

  • Empower and recognize student leadership.
  • Model and provide opportunities for shared responsibility in active exploration and understanding of experiences outside one’s own.
  • Increase meaningful student engagement on campus and within the broader community.
  • Encourage the understanding and development of identity within a larger context.
  • Promote well-being through the integration of mind, body and spirit.
  • Find meaningful ways to collaborate with all campus constituents to the benefit of all students.

Student Activities

The student activities office plans, promotes and coordinates both fun and educational activities for students outside of the classroom. Offerings include performances, films, and shuttle service, as well as college traditions such as Thanksgiving Dinner, White Dinner and Spring Fling. Events and programs are designed and created based on the contribution and effort of students and the Campus Activities Board.

Student Government

The Wilson College Government Association offers all students an opportunity to participate in campus governance. See the organizations section that follows for more information about the WCGA.

As WCGA officers, students are able to learn and develop competence and confidence in their own leadership. Students are an integral part of college governance. Student representatives serve as voting members of most faculty committees and as advisory representatives to most Board of Trustee committees. WCGA officer positions and participation in student clubs/organizations sponsored by WCGA monies are open to all undergraduate students.

Each year, WCGA publishes the Wilson College Bluebook/Student Handbook, which includes the statement of the Honor Principle, as well as academic and administrative regulations and policies governing campus community life. The Bluebook also contains information about WCGA, administrative offices and campus organizations. The Blue Book can be found online at and is available in print through WCGA.


All students new to Wilson College participate in orientation, which introduces them to student life, to provides academic advising and places them in appropriately challenging classes. This comprehensive program also familiarizes students with campus resources, including facilities, faculty, staff and administration. Orientation for first-year students, new students in the Single Parent Scholar Program and international students occurs over the summer and just before the start of classes.