Elorm Atisu: Running far from home

Thousands of miles from home, senior Elorm Atisu came to Whitworth as an adventure. “I actually grew up in Ghana and I moved here when I was 20,” Atisu said.  “That was three years ago.”

Atisu is not apart of the international student program, but rather decided after finishing high school that he wanted to explore.  His brother, who moved to the UK, inspired him to go to a new country.

Atisu originally wanted to go to the UK too, but then decided he wanted to try somewhere different, ending up in Spokane.  After arriving in Spokane Atisu moved in with a host family and has been living with them since his freshman year.

The track coach, Toby Shwarz, called Atisu in order to recruit him.  Schwarz is the reason Atisu choose Whitworth.

“I talked to him on the phone and he did a good job selling the school,” Atisu said.  “He was actually on vacation with his wife, back then they were just engaged, and he was still taking my calls.”

Atisu was drawn to Whitworth because of its Christian affiliations and the friendly atmosphere.  Having run the 400 for his track team in high school, Atisu was already interested in sports.  After he arrived at Whitworth and talked to the team members and other coaches Atisu was impressed by the fact that they were actually human beings, he said.

“I mean human beings in that they were very friendly,” Atisu said.  “If you’re going to travel thousands of miles from home you don’t want to go to a hostile environment.  That can be a very traumatic experience.”

Atisu joined the track team in 2008 and has been running for Whitworth ever since.  He currently sprints the 100, 200, and 4x4 relay.

By Lauren Otheim

Photo by Maria Chumov

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