Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College
Yellow Wood Commission

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"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood...
—Robert Frost

Every great community has its defining moments, when its members shared a common vision and make a choice about their direction. For Wheaton, those moments have included 1912, when Wheaton Female Seminary sought a charter to become Wheaton College, 1988, when the Board of Trustees voted to become co-ed, and, perhaps, right now.

We are facing a significant challenge, as are almost all institutions of higher education, brought about by the increasingly integral role alcohol and other substances play in the lives of students, staff, and faculty. So we created the Yellow Wood Commission to chart a new course

The Yellow Wood Commission was a task-force of students, faculty, and staff committed to leading Wheaton in a deep and thorough examination of alcohol and its related policies and practices; the ideas, beliefs, and behaviors of students and other stakeholders, while reviewing the latest research and best practices of colleges across the country. The goal: to inspire the cultural change needed to reduce alcohol-related harm and bolster academic success.

The Commission’s name comes from the well-known Robert Frost poem, “The Road Not Taken,” and implies that we are, as a community, at a critical juncture in our history. Very few colleges have taken the broad and thoughtful approach to excessive alcohol use that we intend. We seek profound systemic change that will send Wheaton in a direction few have traveled, and there are no shortcuts.

Though the Yellow Wood Commission is no longer active, alcohol harm-reduction continues to be a priority at Wheaton College.


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