Category Archives: FEATURES

Student’s artwork outlet

by Kelly Sullivan
HORIZON Reporter

As the cultural diversity on the Whatcom Community College campus grows, so does the need for extracurricular activities that can facilitate and encourage student involvement. This quarter at Whatcom the new club is WAAC (pronounced like the 90s slang term “Whack!”) which stands for Whatcom Art Awareness Community.

With the formation of WAAC, the clubs student officers and teaching advisor Pam Richardson hope to cultivate a more extensive community of local artists on the Whatcom campus. They want to achieve this by getting people involved, which is a priority for the club this quarter.

“This is good for artists to get together to feed off each others creativity. I’ve already gotten a lot of good ideas” said student member Meg Hemple, 19. Hemple, who heard about the club through a mutual friend, does prints and works with markers.

The club was inspired about a year ago by Richardson, who planted the idea for an art club whose focus is to get its members involved in the community by supporting art awareness at Whatcom. To emphasize the importance of the presence of art as a necessary component of a students education.

Derek Van der Griend one of the student officers is excited about what the club means for the campus. Van der Griend and Desire Louise got the club off it feet last quarter. Other officers include Victoria Knott, Aundrea Leslie, Scooter Riedell and Jennifer Sonker.

Another major goal for the club this quarter is setting up an art walk for Whatcom students in March. The club is mostly focused on the observable forms of artistic expression such as painting, and drawing but are also open to visual illustrations of the written word.

WAAC “accepts any kind of artists, and mediums” said student member Jessica Hemple, 17. The art walk is to take place March 3rd through the 6th. All are encouraged to get involved and display their work with WAAC . The theme is illumination; Light vs. Dark.

Another major goal for the club this quarter is setting up an art walk/show for Whatcom students in March. The clubs is mostly focused on the observable forms of artistic expression including painting, drawing and sculpture, but are also open to visual illustrations of the written word.
WAAC currently has about twenty participating students, with anywhere from five to the full 20 filtering in and out of meetings, which are every other Wednesday at 12:30 pm. in Syre 216.

January 13 was the first time the club met in room 216, which is a long hallway of a room with one giant light wooden table taking up its entirety. The club members sit around facing each other. “This is also the room where the school board meets, so no writing on the table,” Richardson joked at the start of the meeting.

Van der Griend sustained the progression through out the meeting, which focused on the club’s objectives for the quarter. Input from the other advisers and student members of the club were embraced by Van der Griend. The officers depend on feedback and involvement in the meetings from the students to keep the club moving forward.

The atmosphere is warm and welcoming for new and existing members. There are talks of Saturday trips to the museum or movie nights for members who can make it to get comfortable with one another and have time to get to know each other in the near future.

“It brings more attention to the college community [of artists], and you can get group of like minded people together that that like art,” said Hemple.

All are welcome and, Van der Griend and Richardson agree, the more the better. Although they consider the club to be professional in that they really want to get things done this quarter, and promote their club and activities as much as possible, any one interested in art is welcome. Even if you have never set your pencil to sketch paper in your life, they are always looking for enthusiastic students who may just be eager to learn.

The next meeting will be held on February 3 at 12:30 p.m. in the Syre center 216. Those interested can stop by and bring some ideas and enthusiasm for everything art.

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A club for musicians

by Henry Wesson
HORIZON Reporter

Many musicians have an unquenchable thirst to jam but can’t seem to find a reliable group of people to jam with. If you are one of the aspiring musicians that populate Whatcom Community College’s campus, the music club might be the place for you.

It’s the only club where you can rock out with other musicians all afternoon, and if you play an instrument, you will probably feel right at home. It’s a place to talk about, write, and play music, according to members, and they are always looking for new people to jam with.

Logan Browning, a guitar player and member of the local band Hustle City, founded the club last school year with his friend and fellow musician Joe Marzullo. Browning says the goal of the music club is “to rock out and spread music throughout the community here at WCC.”

“People can really benefit from the club because it gives you increased confidence as a musician,” Browning said. “It gives you many opportunities for new experiences, lets musicians learn and practice on new instruments and learn how to play many different kinds of music, and you make new friends and have fun at the same time.” Club members say the experience is 100 percent positive and they all have a great time participating.

It’s pretty much a four-and-a-half hour jam session with a set list of anything members want to play. Everyone throws their ideas in during the initial brainstorm when the club begins, and then everyone just plays and plays to their heart’s content. The musicians in the music club find that it’s a great way to jam to your favorite songs or work out the sound of your own personal compositions. Also, with everyone contributing to the set list, everyone gets to hone their playing abilities by learning to play other people’s favorites, as well as their own musical concoctions. This allows an opportunity for members to play unfamiliar styles and become a more versatile musician, so anyone dreaming of being a studio musician may find that this is a fantastic way to get that much needed practice.

The philosophy of the club-goers is just to play music. It doesn’t matter if someone suggests to groove on a cover of an old classic from Jethro Tull’s “Aqualung,” or on a cover of a newer hit like Radiohead’s “Fifteen Steps.” With an ensemble of ambitious and eager musicians for peers, one can play anything one’s heart desires. With so many possibilities, wouldn’t a beginner feel overwhelmed? The music club is both a place for both the skilled and not so skilled, and there is always room for everyone to learn and have fun. The club is open to any Whatcom student that wants to join.

Kris Staples-Weyrauch (pronounced “why rock?” he said jokingly) has been a member of the music club for two years, since it was founded.

“I joined the music club because I really enjoy jamming with other musicians and seeing what ideas and compositions we can come up with together,” said Staples-Weyrauch, a guitar player who has been playing since he was 12 years old. Staples-Weyrauch is a talented self-taught musician and student-taught the band program at Bellingham High School, which testifies that even really advanced musicians can still learn in the music club. He also loves playing with the friends he made in the music club.

The music club still has a rather small number of students currently participating, and welcomes potential members even if they are not enrolled in music classes at the college. The only requirements are a proficiency with an instrument (whether it be the electric guitar or the didgeridoo) or mastery of the vocal chords and knowledge of how to read some form of music (sheet music, tab, or, if you’re gifted with perfect pitch and can learn by ear or play the drums).

“We are always down to have new musicians join,” said Browning. “The more the merrier.”

The music club meets in the Heiner Center Auditorium on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1:30 to 5 pm.

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The risk of plagiarism

by Lexi Foldenauer
HORIZON Reporter

By now, we all know what plagiarism means – to plagiarize is to cheat, and so forth and so on. But is it possible to plagiarize without even knowing it? Like when a simple citation error is made, or when a teacher makes their own assumption about the truthfulness of a student’s work?

Linda Lambert, a librarian at Whatcom Community College, recalls a time when she was wrongly accused of plagiarism by a professor, during an English 101 course during her early college years.

“My teacher handed an essay back to me with an F on it because he said I had copied it,” she said. “He wrote that it sounded “too advanced” for a college freshman.”

Lambert says she had pulled a few vocabulary words from a column in Reader’s Digest called “Improving Your Word Power,” which she assumed was her professor’s reason for questioning the paper’s authenticity.

Though Lambert was able to salvage her grade after bringing in a copy of the article, similar accusations can occur on college campuses daily. Dr. Anne George, a French and humanities instructor here at Whatcom, offered some insight.

“I think a lot of students do not realize when they are lifting material, they are sometimes not aware that lifting, let’s say, two or three sentences, constitutes plagiarism,” said George. “But, just like in everything, there is a grey area.”

This so-called grey area describes the point in which a student enters plagiaristic territory, freely and knowingly.

Today, thanks to the Internet, it is simple to gather information for a wide variety of subjects. These tools make it much easier for college students to conduct research, as well as put papers together.

Contradictory to its use for research, however, the internet has also made it that much simpler for students to take information from other sources and falsely claim it.

Trish Onion, Vice President for Educational Studies at Whatcom, recalled about a dozen cases of plagiarism on campus within the last year. In a typical year, Onion says she deals with about ten to 12 students who have plagiarized papers in some way, ranging from minor to more serious situations.

“A lot of time students just make a mistake,” said Onion. It is only when a student presents what is known as an intent to deceive, like copying and pasting large amounts of information without citing it, that they will face more serious consequences.

Onion used a diagram called a “plagiarism continuum” to represent the range of severity in cases. The continuum ranged from unintentional to intent-to-deceive; each scenario resulting in a different outcome for the student.

Instructors at Whatcom are encouraged to include a brief statement about their personal tolerance regarding acceptable work, as well as the actions that Whatcom Community College takes when plagiarism occurs.

If a student makes significant citation errors in a paper, an instructor will usually either give them the chance to redo it, or give them a zero percent for that assignment, said Onion. When a teacher finds the writing in a student’s paper to be suspicious, they will first investigate.

If the paper’s information is proved stolen, a couple things happen. First, the student is contacted by their instructor, and a meeting is arranged for the student to review the material with both the instructor and Trish Onion.

“Part of my role is to uphold the student’s rights as well as responsibility,” Onion said. The student then leaves with a formal warning, but if there is an additional case of dishonesty, the student can later be faced with suspension.

“Instructors give their heart and soul to teaching and helping students to change their lives,” said Onion. “When a student is dishonest, it’s a real disappointment to instructors.”

So, knowing all of the outcomes of plagiarizing, why do so many college students continue to do it? “Maybe students are afraid that they won’t have any ideas of their own, and are stressed,” said Nick Santini, a student at Whatcom. Santini opts to take a five minute break when feeling anxious about a paper, then come back when he feels refreshed to take it on again.

Sherri Winans, English teacher at Whatcom, is close to celebrating her twenty-first year of teaching. Winans speculates that with all of the technological changes, it has become easier for students to just copy and paste, instead of focusing on their original ideas.

“I think that’s when the problem comes in, when we rely so heavily on the other sources,” she said. Along with teaching English, Winans also directs the Writing Center. She strongly recommends it as a helpful resource when feeling desperate and strapped for time on a paper. Factors like: paraphrasing, messy note-taking, and quoting, can result in problems for students, Winans said.

The Writing Center, located within the Learning Center, provides tutoring in the areas of both APA and MLA citation, along with a variety of other areas in writing. Fully equipped with computers, work tables, tutors, and handbooks in both APA and MLA formatting, the center helps students learn how to cite their sources properly. Along with helping to cite your sources, the tutors are available to assist students with anything from a resume to a personal statement for a university application.

Winans, who has been directing the Writing Center for about 10 years, says the one factor that makes it so helpful to students is that the tutors work one-on-one in any area which the student may be struggling in. She explained that the tutors will first have the student give as much information about what they are writing as they can, and follow with formatting later. This allows the student to start getting their thoughts down, and discover their own creative ideas, which is crucial to developing strong original work.

Whether you are hurriedly trying to meet a deadline, or are stressed about perfecting your resume – the Writing Center can help. If you don’t have the time to make it there in person, there is an online resource available as well. While there is no way to fully prevent occurrences of plagiarism, colleges and universities everywhere will continue to educate their students on the ramifications that come along with the act, and also ways to avoid it altogether.

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Notice: “Deception” writing contest seeking submissions

reads“Deception,” a Whatcom County writing contest being held in honor of this year’s WhatcomReads! book, “Old School,” by Tobias Wolff, is seeking submissions. In order to participate, the following criteria must be met:

-You must attend a high school or institution of higher education (Western Washington University, Bellingham Technical College, Whatcom Community College, or the Northwest Indian College)

-Write up to 800 words

-Create an entirely original story (fiction or non-fiction is welcome)

-Entries must be submitted via e-mail to: by Thursday, January 28, 2010.

The theme is Deception

-When does a lie become the truth?

-How far would you go to win?


Entries will become property of The Big Read/WhatcomReads and will not be returned. Portions of a winning entry may be used rather than the whole. By submitting an entry all writers grant permission to The Big Read/WhatcomReads to share their writing on the library Web site and in publications and media. Winners will be announced February 1, 2010 on the Web site

One winner from each educational institution will be published in an anthology and will be invited to read their work at an author’s reception at Village Books on Sunday, February 21, 2010 at 4 p.m.

The winning entry will also be published in the February 9 issue of the Horizon.


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Notice: Co-op offering cooking classes for WCC students

IMG_2488cropThe Cordata Community Food Co-op, located at 315 Westerly Road, is now offering cooking classes with priority given to WCC students. Titled “Learn to Cook at the Co-op,” the classes will take place in the Roots Room of the Cordata Co-op and are taught by instructor Dorothy Hopkins.

There will be three sessions of the class, which will take place on three consecutive Fridays (Jan. 15, Jan. 22, and Jan. 29) from 4 to 6:30 p.m. The cost is $15, with room for between five and 10 students. Those interested must sign up for all three sessions.

Topics covered will include organizing and stocking a kitchen, basic nutrition, exploration of grains, legumes, and vegetables, and shopping on a budget. To register for the classes, go to the Co-op Service Desk at either of the Co-op’s two Bellingham locations, or call (360) 734-8158. You can also e-mail at

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