Letter from the Editor

By Emily Huntington

Horizon Editor    

     Wow, I can’t believe it’s already spring quarter. This time last year, I was on a completely different path in my life. I thought I wanted to go to Bellingham Technical College and obtain a veterinary assistant certificate. It’s funny how things change. I decided to stay at Whatcom and do paralegal studies. Journalism is such a rewarding experience; I couldn’t not be on the staff, so I applied for editor. I am very pleased and anxious for what is to come.

     Just before spring break, a few students from the Visual Asian Culture Cub on campus asked the student council for $2,000 so that they could attend Sakura-Con, an anime convention in Seattle. This in no way benefited the college or any other students besides the ones who asked for it, so when it was reported back to our class, deep down I was hoping that it would not be approved. To my journalism class, I jokingly suggested that we ask student council for a sum of money so we can go to Leavenworth, or so we can buy a coffee machine, or something – just because it’s the same principal.

     However, upon return from spring break, we found out that $500 was approved for this group of students. I was astonished. Sometimes I wonder if the members of student council approve things just because they don’t want to not approve it. Three members of the council abstained from voting. That means that instead of voting yes or no, they simply didn’t vote.

     This news came at about the same time as the news that the Child Development Center is closing. Yes, they are different budgets, but at least the Child Development Center is beneficial to a great majority of students on campus. I would much rather have my student fees go to that than to a few students who want to dress up as their favorite anime character and trek down to Seattle for a few days.

     I just can’t stop thinking about the representation (or lack thereof) of our college student body. I feel like they’re afraid to say no… but maybe I’m way off…

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Letter from the Editor

by Matt Benoit

The title I hold on this staff, “Editor-In-Chief,” might make me sound—at least to some—like a rather prestigious and important person. To some extent, I suppose, this is true.

Well, at least the important part. After all, for each issue of the Horizon, I assign the stories, write at least one news or feature story (if we have a smaller staff, I usually end up writing more), as well as a humor column. I’m responsible for knowing and talking with key college administrators and keeping up to date with all college news.

In addition, I compile the campus briefs, write this column, and not only have the final say over headlines and captions, but of all content we run and its placement in each issue.

Now, that doesn’t mean I can do whatever the hell I want. Well, technically I can, but there are limits. My idea of changing the Horizon into a “pop-up book” publication never did come to fruition.

But even with all that, I’m definitely not prestigious. Believe it or not, being editor of a community college newspaper really isn’t as glamorous as you might think. Sure, I get an $800 stipend for the quarter, but if you broke that down to an hourly wage, you’d probably find it illegal. There is no “journalist’s clubhouse” where I go to sip martinis and converse in intelligent, witty banter with Tom Brokaw.

But there are perks: We sometimes get free stuff, including tickets to drama productions. Also, we occasionally receive books in the mail, although these are more likely to be on the New York Times’ “Worst Seller List” than “Best Seller List.”

I’ve also had the privilege of working with a number of beautiful and talented women on our staff, even if the farthest I’ve ever gotten with any of them is editing their story drafts.

Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that I’m not the most important person on our staff. In fact, no one is.

This newspaper is always a group effort. Every one of our staff members put great energy into making sure each issue is as good as it can be, and each person has their own responsibilities that make them a critical part of getting the paper finished.

Without a proofreader, mistakes would go unnoticed. Without an online editor, we would not have a functional Web site. Without a photo editor, we would be lacking for the photos that can often help tell the stories as good as any words. Without our production editor, there wouldn’t be a paper to proof. Without assistant editors, the editor would lose his mind. And while I assign the stories, our staff is responsible for coming up with them.

I’ve served as editor of the Horizon three times, and this issue will be my last in that role. At times, I think I’ve done an adequate job, and at other times I feel I haven’t. Overall, I’ve sincerely enjoyed it, and have learned a lot.

Here’s to wishing our next editor all the best.

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Letter from the Editor

by Matt Benoit

I’ve been watching my fair share of NBC’s Winter Olympics coverage lately. The 21st Winter Olympiad, of course, is going on just north of us in Vancouver, British Columbia. The Winter Games have always been my favorite, more so than the Summer Games.

 I think the reason is the great sense of speed and allure of potential danger that many of its events contain—from speed skating to downhill skiing to bobsled—there is a certain fascination with the spectacle of these events, almost removing some of them from the notion of “game” territory.

That potential danger can be very real, as evidenced by the death of 21-year-old Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili, who was killed during a training run on Feb. 12 when he flew off his sled and into an unprotected metal pole at nearly 90 mph.

I realize that some people reading this may not care about the Olympics; there are many people I know who are not much into sports at all. But the Olympics represent more than just a medal count or a series of final scores and statistics—they represent the stories of many people and cultures.

These are stories both heartbreaking and uplifting. They are people’s dreams, and nightmares, realized; their hard work and soft emotion. Their perseverance and dedication.

So many times the Olympics have taken on a greater significance in the light of world events—“The Miracle on Ice” at Lake Placid in 1980, where the US men’s hockey team defeated the USSR in the midst of the Cold War; the horrible tragedy of the 1972 Munich Games, where Palestinian terrorists took most of the Israeli team hostage and killed them.

The Olympics can help us, as human beings, to recognize our differences and try to—at least temporarily—put them aside, and instead embrace our commonality through the spirit and intensity of competitive sport. Perhaps nowhere else is that tired but true phrase, “the thrill of victory, and the agony of defeat,” more relevant.

The Games prove that, sometimes, barriers are not meant to hold back, but rather to be broken through (not necessarily literally, mind you; but this too, can happen at the Olympics) in the hopes of greater achievement.

The dreams of the many Olympic athletes remind and inspire me to continue to pursue my dreams, and I suggest you aspire to do the same. Whatever those dreams are, don’t give up on them. Be realistic, but don’t give up. Be not pessimistic, but persistent. Life doesn’t owe you anything, and there are no guarantees, but if you really want something, the effort is always worth it, win or lose.

If you let your dreams slip away, you may regret it. I’ve always felt that the formula for regret is a simple one: missed opportunity plus time equals regret. And that’s one equation that no one wants to be writing.

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Letter from the Editor

By Matt Benoit

The fragrant aroma of chili wafted prominently down the hallway from Syre 108 last Wednesday, Feb. 4. It enticed many, including myself, to get heartburn (or, perhaps, worse) for a good cause. To those of you who may be eating as you read this, I apologize for that last bit.

This event, of course, was Whatcom’s second Annual Combined Fund Drive Chili Cook-Off Challenge, with donations from the event going to several charities for Haiti earthquake relief. All told, there were 18 chilis to be tasted, and, being such a chili fanatic, I tasted all of them. Then I threw up.

No, actually, I’m only joking, although I did briefly kind of feel like I was going to die. I drank cup after cup of ice water. I sweated profusely through my shirt. I went to the bathroom, and stayed there for several hours. To those of you who may be eating as you read this, I once again apologize for that last part.

Seriously, though, there were chilis of many kinds. There was seafood chili, wimpy chili, wild chili (there was no domesticated chili, from what I saw), springtime chili, and five-pepper chili.

There was a no-name chili and chilis with great names, including: “Black Beans and Consequences,” the “Best Damn Chili You’ll Ever Taste…and Then Some,”  “Some Kind of Chili,” Linda Lambert’s library-inspired “Dewey Decimator Chili 641,”and, conjuring up images of Al Gore, Jim Hollingsworth’s “Global Warming, It is Here,” chili.

There was, as comedian Ron White once eloquently put it, “chili everywhere.” Even hours after the event, the smell of chili lingered in the air of the classroom as if it had been permanently absorbed into the paint on the walls.

In the end, $1,671 was raised, and Cindy Woods’ “Chiang Mai High” chili took home the coveted Trustee’s Award. Cindy Hoskins also won for the “Best Damn Chili You’ll Ever Eat,” and the People’s Choice Award (everyone had the chance to vote for their favorite chili) will be announced on Professional Development Day on Feb. 26.

I have just used the word “chili” 22 times in an editor’s column. Now it’s 23 times. That is a record that will, one imagines, never be eclipsed as long as the Horizon continues to be published. Did I mention that I love chili? I think I’m getting hungry.

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Letter from the Editor

It’s a new year, a new decade, and a new quarter here at the Horizon. After all, it wouldn’t be an old one, would it?

We’ve got a great staff this quarter, and I am once again your editor-in-chief, which I think is kind of an odd title. I mean, I think that if that is my title, I should get to wear one of those large, traditional Native American headdresses.

On a more serious note, though, there is a lot of concern these days over potential budget cuts in higher education for the next school year. For some students, state financial aid will probably be reduced if not eliminated all together. Other students may lose Work Study positions.

With all of this potentially looming, it’s as important as ever to apply as early as possible for financial aid and scholarships, and to really concentrate on making your winter quarter at Whatcom a success.

I’d also like to take the time to wish those of you who’ve recently applied or are in the process of applying for transfers to universities the best of luck. May you be accepted to the college of your dreams.

Finally, if you have yet to contribute to the Haiti relief effort, now would be a great time to start. Take a few minutes out of your day to donate some money via text message or the Internet—whatever you can give—to the Red Cross, Doctors without Borders, or some other quality aid organizations.

Looking at the devastation in Haiti makes one realize how fortunate most of us are. If worrying about grades, getting accepted into universities, and how to pay for school are our biggest concerns, then we’re doing pretty darn good.

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