Category Archives: EVENTS

The week at Whatcom

photos by Matt Benoit and Jessica Etemadi

Whatcom’s Activities Committee gave away free ice cream  to students outside the Syre Student Center on April 28. They also sold tickets for the upcoming Blue Scholars concert at Whatcom, to be held May 8.


Poet James Bertolino was presented with the gift of beer by library staff member Ara Taylor at the Kumquat Poetry Challenge Celebration, held April 29 in Whatcom’s Syre Black Box Theatre.

Bertolino received the six-pack for speaking at the celebration, which was a publishing party for the winners of the library’s annual poetry contest and celebration of National Poerty Month.

A bevy of brownies and cookies fill the refreshment table at the April 29 publishing party for the Kumquat Poetry Challenge.


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Cinco De Mayo

 By Curt McAllister

Horizon Reporter

The Spanish Club and the Activities Committee will hold a Cinco de Mayo party in the Syre Auditorium next Wednesday, May 5.

The U&Me Dance studio will be providing merengue lessons from 12:15 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. Katie Hoyt-Crat, a member of the Spanish Club, encourages people to attend and learn merengue, a style of music and dance from the Dominican Republic. The lessons are free and open to anyone with or without experience, with or without a partner.

Starting at 11 a.m. the Dockside Café will serve beans, rice and enchiladas for $2.15. The Spanish Club is covering half of the cost.

Tentative plans include a piñata for smashing or for giving away and a performance from the Music Club.

Sandra Sefati, from the Activities Committee, said the Spanish Club held salsa lessons last quarter. “I heard lots of good things about it,” she said. 

Merengue is a faster, less complicated salsa dance.

Cinco de Mayo commemorates the defeat of French troops in the Mexican town of Puebla. The holiday is typically only celebrated throughout the United States and the Mexican state of Puebla.

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The week at Whatcom

photos by Matt Benoit




A student finds musical solitude on the lawn near Whatcom’s Kulshan Hall.

Members of Whatcom’s music club perform during the college’s Activities Fair.

Students and faculty helped celebrate Earth Day on April 22 with a volunteer waste audit of about a day’s worth of garbage from half of Whatcom’s campus. The event was sponsored by the Sustainability Committee.

Compost and recycling bins are lined up in the Syre Courtyard as part of the Earth Day waste audit.

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International Night at Whatcom

Story and photos by Matt Benoit and Reed Klein

Horizon Editor

The Syre Student Center Auditorium was, in a way, the focus of the entire world on Feb. 25, as the International Friendship Club’s marquee event, International Night, filled the auditorium to capacity with exotic flags, food, music and dance performances, and the constant din of international chatter.

“It’s crazy,” said Kelly Kester, International Programs Director at Whatcom. “It’s gotta be the biggest student-run event on campus.”

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Held annually at Whatcom for close to 20 years, Kester said International Night has taken on a life of its own despite a lack of advertising, even to the point of outgrowing its capacity. He estimated that between 400 and 500 people were coming and going throughout the course of this year’s event, which lasted from 6 p.m. until just after 9:30 p.m.

Food lines stretched out of the auditorium entrance at some points, and Kester said he saw some people in line for “at least an hour.” There was still food at night’s end, however, in part thanks to Nimnual Toom, who owns the “Thai House Restaurant” in Bellingham. Kester said the restaurant donated a lot of food; specifically, large quantities of Pad Thai noodles. “It was really nice,” he said.

From belly dancing to choir singing, classical music to a hip-hop performance, International Night once again showcased the talents of Whatcom’s diverse student body.

Danik Karpov, 19, who came to the event with his friend, Whatcom student Dzmitry Ryzhkou, enjoyed seeing the expression of so many cultures and traditions.

“This is what makes America such a great country,” he said. “It’s so multicultural.”

The major challenge with International Night, which Kester called a nice mix of American and international students, community members, and faculty, is to keep it student-run and not too rehearsed while still maintaining a friendly environment.

“It’s kinda organized chaos,” he said.

Ulli Schraml, advisor for the International Friendship Club, said $519 was collected from International Night through admissions fees ($2 a person), and an additional $137 was donated to benefit Beach Elementary School.

Looking into the future of International Night, Kester said the only other building on campus that could support a crowd the size of what International Night attracts would be the Pavilion, although he warned that the acoustics would be worse.

Another consideration would be to move the event to a later time in the year, so that it could be held outdoors. That’s a gamble, though, warned Kester.

“International Night plus bad weather equals disaster,” he said.

Although the future location for the event may be in question, one thing is not when it comes to International Night: “It’s just continuing to grow,” said Kester.

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Marching, chanting and protesting budget cuts

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by Reed Klein

Horizon Reporter

“Two-four-six-eight! We just want to graduate!” chanted students and community members alike at the protest to Governor Gregoire’s budget on the morning of Feb. 15, in front of the State Capitol Building in Olympia. The steam of their breath could be seen everywhere as they talked and laughed around the empty fountain on the State Capitol campus, waiting to march onto the steps of the large, domed Legislative Building.

In all, thousands of people rallied to protest the potential cuts to financial aid, as well as the elimination of Work Study, which  allows students to work part-time around campus to pay for tuition.

Work Study students are already in financial instability, said Kristina Blake, a Whatcom student in Work Study. Taking out a loan to pay for school, she said, would be perilous.

Blake and other WCC students, along with those of Bellingham Technical College and Skagit Valley Community College, rode a bus to the Monday morning rally. After a three hour bus ride they joined community members from across the state in opposition of Gregoire’s budget proposal.

“The education budget is less than admirable already,” said Richard Bruno, another Work Study student at Whatcom who went to Olympia. “The strain of the economy already has a greater strain on schools,” and this budget, Bruno said, just makes it incredibly worse.

On Gregoire’s Web site,, she said, “Let me be very clear: I do not support this budget. As required by law, it is balanced. For me, it is unjust.”

She is not alone in that sentiment.

Opponents to the budget see the cut of Work Study as not only detrimental to students who need the Work Study job to pay for school, but to the whole school system in general : fewer people would be able to afford school; schools would have to cut back spending; basic amenities and resources like the Writing Center could suffer from a lower source of school income.

Whatcom is expected to lose $238,000 from its operating budget if the budget passes, and offices around campus will be strained without their Work Study students.

Caroline Jovag, an employee in the registration office, says that there is no money for employees to work overtime – the help they receive from Work Study students is crucial to maintaining timely and orderly responses to student’s needs. Without Work Study students in almost every office, long lines and crowds would ensue.

“The education struggle is hard enough,” said Jay Wiitala, a Whatcom student who does not receive financial aid or participate in Work Study. He came to Olympia in support of his peers. “They won’t have the opportunity to succeed if Work Study is cut.

Rebuilding Our Economic Future Coalition, a hub of dozens of private interest groups interested in Washington State reform, proposed and organized the protest.

It wasn’t only students who participated in the protest. People of all ages came to the rally, from those in strollers to those with walking canes.

“We’re mortgaging our future,” said Pat Montgomery, an older man who wore his red, white, and blue shirt to the rally. “We must cut services in the budget, but not education.”

Montgomery and others at the rally showed strong support to start raising revenue taxes, flapping their signs and shouting from the big steps of the State Capitol. Depending on the revisions Washington State legislators decide and what Governor Gregoire vetoes, the budget is expected to be passed between April and May.

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