Visions and Voices highlights women in film

By Eva Mo

Film is indispensable in this visual media society, no matter in this generation or in the past. However, in the ever-augmenting filmmaker’s world, women haven’t been seen during the age of silent film, and not many people are aware of women filmmakers.

The CASCADIA International Women’s Film Festival is a local platform for women filmmakers to show their works to the public. They are currently holding Visions & Voices: Forgotten Films from Cinema’s Women Directors in Bellingham through March.

The organization has also been holding the Women’s Film Festival since 2015. This year it will be held on April 11-14, at the Pickford Film Center and the Mt. Baker Theatre.

Dr. Susan Lonac is an advisory member of CASCADIA and English and Film professor at Whatcom Community College. As a professor, she specializes in American women filmmakers, American LGBTQ+ filmmakers, and film adaptation. Lonac is helping to organize the Visions and Voices event this year.

“Pioneers: First Women Filmmakers” is a collection of historical films, produced by the Kino Lorber distribution company and the Library of Congress, released last November. The films are directed by seven different early women filmmakers: Alice Guy-Blaché, Lois Weber, Helen Holmes, Mabel Normand, Grace Cunard and Dorothy Davenport Reid.

“The inspiration of this event was the release of a six-disc set of early women filmmakers’ movies,” Lonac said. “On that set are some films that have not been seen by the public since they were first released, during the age of silent film.”

According to the CASCADIA website, the four-part series includes a variety of features and short films ranging from slapstick comedies to melodramas and thrillers from female directors.

The first two events have already been shown Dec. 2, and Jan. 6. For these events, they showed influential director Lois Weber’s “The Blot” (1921), and “Salome” (1923), starring Alla Nazimova, a pioneering lesbian actress.

Lonac mentioned many of the films were over 100 years old, but that not many people are aware of those films or other work from early women filmmakers. Also, it is too often that women in history are erased, she said.

“The purpose of the event is to help people discover the work of early women directors in America,” Lonac said.

The remaining shows will be held Sunday, Feb. 10 at 2 p.m. at Mt. Baker Theatre, 104 N. Commercial St., and Friday, March 8 at 7 p.m. at Firehouse Café, 1315 Harris Ave.

Tickets are available through More information about the festival is available at

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ASWCC Senate gives students a voice

By Madison Roper

The Associated Students of Whatcom Community College has a student senate, but what are they here for and who is behind it? The student senate is the primary body that represents students’ voices on campus.

For Running Start student and senator, Elliot Saldivar, the senate is a “great opportunity to get involved.” The senate meets biweekly on Mondays, to discuss and vote on funding, programming, events, and opportunities on campus.

The ASWCC’s mission is “to serve students by providing diverse opportunities for campus involvement, to build campus community, and represent student concerns in college decision-making.” The senators are a diverse group of multiple races and genders, made to represent the various demographics on campus.

The senate is made up of 12 student senators, along with the ASWCC Executive Board and has ASWCC Executive Vice President, Rayo Suseno, leading the meetings. Suseno was a senator during the spring 2018 quarter, and was elected ASWCC Executive Vice President, as well as Chair of the Student Senate program, in the fall quarter of the same year.

Rayo Suseno is the current Executive Vice President of the Whatcom student senate. He enjoys the support and community the ASWCC provides for students.
Rayo Suseno is the current Executive Vice President of the Whatcom student senate. He enjoys the support and community the ASWCC provides for students.

He had applied for senator before the spring 2018 quarter, but his application was put on hold due to a full senate. “Ever since high school, I’ve been involved in this kind of stuff. I’m really craving for something like this again.”

Suseno is an international student that moved to Bellingham from Indonesia in fall 2017. “I think that I’m kind of longing for home. Back in my home country, my routine was to go to school and work on some projects with some of the other student leaders and it’s been a habit ever since.”

Suseno mentioned events coming up that he wants students to be aware of.

To him, the community between students and ASWCC matters.

“The most exciting part is meeting different people for every meeting. Seeing new faces and talking to different people every meeting has definitely refreshed my vision. There’s new students or new faculty members coming to us and saying ‘hey, we need something, can you support us?’ It’s really relieving to see them coming to us. And it’s also exciting that our work in the student senate is making someone else’s life better.”

On Jan. 24, the ASWCC Executive Board will be going to Olympia to talk with state legislatures. The board is looking for students to submit ASWCC postcards with their stories of what issues they are struggling with on campus.

The four issues the board will be discussing are the affordability of college, textbook resources/expenses, food security/student hunger, and previously incarcerated students.

When filling out the postcard, there will be stickers to put on the cards to represent what students care about most.

The board is going to meet four representatives, but is waiting on Senator Doug Ericksen. Ericksen is on the Washington State Committee for Higher Education and Workforce Development, and the Senate representative for Whatcom County.

The stories can help influence the representatives, and the postcards will work for data to represent what matters most to Whatcom Community College students.

On Feb. 2 at 9 a.m. an event called Find Your Pod is being held in the Heiner Theater. Students who have the same academic interests will be grouped together, so they can have a conversation with someone that can help guide them in their chosen field of study. For anyone that wishes to attend the event, they must register beforehand. The event runs until 2 p.m., and free lunch will be served.

The ASWCC Student Senate’s next meeting will be held on Jan. 28 at 4 p.m. in Syre 108.

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Whatcom receives new grants

By Jeremy Clopton

Whatcom Community College received $2.25 million from the Title III grant awarded by the United States Department of Education to be dispersed over a five-year period and is aimed at developing a student welcoming program as well faculty facilities, funding began Oct. 1, 2018 and ends Sept. 30, 2023.

Title III, known as the Strengthening Institutions grant, has an extremely competitive application process and this is the first time WCC has received the grant in almost 30 years.
The grant was developed based on institutional needs, and helps bring to life Whatcom’s strategic plan, which prioritizes students and their success.

One of the main determining factors for this grant is the percentage of low-income students who are enrolled at the college.

Only applications with perfect reviews are accepted with only the top several institutions receiving funding that will be dispersed through a five-year period.
The grant will help the college become self-sufficient while expanding their ability to better serve low-income students by providing funding to improve academic quality, institutional management, and fiscal stability.

The main purpose for the Title III grant is to greatly improve student outcomes. The primary areas of focus are Guided Pathway, funding teaching and learning centers for faculty and staff, and a student welcome experience.

Guided Pathway is a program funded from the grant and is aimed at helping low-income students.

“Guided Pathway will provide a pathway to success and give students a sense of belonging since the beginning of the year,” said Whatcom Director of Finances Alison Scherer.
The grant funds salaries for faculty and staff, technology, equipment, and more to make this vision a reality.

The completion of the Learning Commons in the future will open new opportunities, courtesy of the grant.

This grant provides an unprecedented opportunity to create a teaching and learning center that will provide training to faculty and staff on guided pathways advising and inclusive, active learning classrooms that include the furniture, layout, and technology to help students collaborate and engage in new and exciting ways.

Among the funding for Guided Pathway is funding for new faculty and staff facilities, which will be designed to better serve teachers and staff at Whatcom.

Many details on how and when the grants funds will be utilized are still being ironed out, but Scherer is excited about the “new opportunities” that will be arising.

Whatcom also received another grant from the DOE, as the cybersecurity program was awarded $100,000 through the Cyber Pilot grant. That grant is the first of its kind to be awarded from the DOE, and will fund upgrades to the curriculum, software, and equipment.

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‘Food fight’ nets 1,633 lbs. in donations

By Jeremy Clopton

Skagit Valley College challenged Whatcom Community College to a charity “food fight” that began Nov. 1 of last year and ended Jan. 18, with Whatcom collecting the most weight in non-perishable foods for its own Orca Food Pantry.

Whatcom brought in a total of 1,123 pounds, 15 ounces in donated food, a little over twice Skagit’s total of 509 pounds, 12 ounces. The totals and winner were announced Jan. 19 at the men’s basketball games hosted by Skagit.

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Seminar tackles tough law enforcement issues

By Jeremy Clopton

The “Ferguson Effect,” along with contemporary issues in law enforcement in a post-Ferguson era, is a new Honors Program Seminar at Whatcom Community College, led by Chief Deputy Doug Chadwick of the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office.

Chadwick has 24 years of experience working in law enforcement. In 2014 he graduated from the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia along with 220 men and women from 47 states and 23 international countries.

“The honors seminar proposal was well received and supported by other departments as a current and relevant subject that should be offered,” Chadwick said.

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The official student newspaper of Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, Washington