Tag Archives: students

International Programs celebrates diversity

Left to right: Surabhi Subedi, Iman Adem, Joy Kumala, Azrul Tarmizi, and Benedict Yeoh share a laugh at the Syre Student Center.
Left to right: Surabhi Subedi, Iman Adem, Joy Kumala, Azrul Tarmizi, and Benedict Yeoh share a laugh at the Syre Student Center.

By Elisa Espinoza

Since it was established in 1967, Whatcom Community College’s founder Harold G. Heiner had the purpose of internationalizing the school.
Heiner believed that by bringing in students from different countries and cultures, the college could achieve greater institutional diversity. Today, the International Programs staff works to preserve this legacy. Continue reading International Programs celebrates diversity

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Find Your Pod helps students connect

By Sydney Mitchell

Find Your Pod is a student-led conference that helps  introduce students who are on the same academic pathways to each other.

Joy Kumala, a student and the ASWCC director for Academic Success, and adviser Kunbi Ajiboye, the Associate Director for Student Life and Development are the organizers.

This conference encourages academic engagement. It gives students a chance to meet others who have the same majors and academic interests, and could potentially be in the same classes or pathways.

Ajiboye says that if students “feel a connection to other students they become more motivated on their education path.”

Continue reading Find Your Pod helps students connect

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Make Your Mark

By: Kelly Rockey

Whatcom students such as Marques Reynolds placed pins where they identify as “home” on a world map to visually represent the diversity of Whatcom’s student body. Photo by Kelly Rockey.
Whatcom students such as Marques Reynolds placed pins where they identify as “home” on a world map to visually represent the diversity of Whatcom’s student body. Photo by Kelly Rockey.

Students at Whatcom Community College were able to show their roots this past week as the Programming and Diversity Board (PDB) put on their Make Your Mark event. Students were invited to come to Syre Student Center May 15 and mark where they are from on a world map.

The idea behind the event was to visually represent the diversity of Whatcom’s student body in a way that students could see how far our peers have come to attend the college.

“We wanted to encourage diversity on campus, and have people take it wholeheartedly,” said Whatcom student and PDB member Marcelina Santana.

The event initially began with students placing one pin on the map, but students started asking if they could place more than one pin because they identify themselves as being from more than one place.

Some people started to put pins not only where they grew up, but also where their family ancestries were from. Santana said it was an unforeseen turn of events for PDB members and was also an eye-opening experience for some.

“If you consider yourself something, then that is who you are,” said Whatcom student Vicky Matey, who is also on the PDB. Matey said that placing multiple pins on the map allowed students to “self-identify” where they consider themselves from, whether through direct geological location or indirect family lineage.

Student ethnicity has become a popular topic in Bellingham, partially because of the controversial statements recently made by Western Washington University’s President Bruce Shepard that Western’s student body is “too white.”

Students who attended the event to mark where they came from on the map did not seem to see a lack of diversity on their campus, and with more than 200 international students at the college, it is easy to see this diversity represented in the student body.

“Whatcom is bigger than you think,” said Whatcom student and PDB member Marques Reynolds. “Not in the number of people, but more in [their] diversity. It shocks students to see how widely spread the Whatcom community really is.”

Other students shared similar notions about diversity at Whatcom and the Make Your Mark map gave a visual representation of the diversity on campus, especially in regards to self-identity.

“It gives people the opportunity to see how diverse Whatcom is, and lets people know that they’re not alone,” Whatcom student Celiann George said at the event. “Instead of peoples’ assumptions, you can choose for yourself.”

Whatcom student Sukhdip Singh was one of many individuals that placed multiple pins on the map. Singh said he was raised in Greece and has family ties back to India.

“We can see that Bellingham is diverse,” said Singh. “This is bringing students together and making them aware of the different people and different cultures on campus.”

“We were trying to portray diversity on campus, and show that [Whatcom] is open to all kinds of people. We have people from all over the world and they all connect back to Bellingham,” said Whatcom student and PDB member Nilly Wasef.

The coordinators in charge of the event said they were pleased to see the results produced on the map, as well as the underlying message that Whatcom’s student body is rich in diversity.

“It was such a positive event, and made me happy to be at Whatcom,” Matey said. “We are all one. We’re all different, but we’re all one.”


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Student-led conference for social justice

By: Lynette Martinez

Photo courtesy of ASWCC
Photo courtesy of ASWCC


A student-run conference promoting social justice, diversity, and student leadership is set to be held at Whatcom Community College Saturday June 7.

The conference, called “Seeds of Change,” is presented by Whatcom’s Social Justice, Equity, and Pluralism Committee, who are members of the Associated Students of Whatcom Community College (ASWCC). The conference is set to be held in Syre from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m

“Students are provided the opportunity to be presenters at this conference when normally they are just students learning at the conference,” said Lead Conference Coordinator Alan Alatorre.

At the conference students and community members will be able “to learn, grow, and engage in conversations around social justice, with the hopes of creating change,” according to the conference flyer.

Alatorre said that the committee has been working on organizing the conference since the last week of winter quarter. He added that they are most excited about the conference being completely student-led and student-ran. This is the first time the conference has been done, and it is intended to be held annually in the future.

“A few students went to the Students of Color Conference in Yakima, Washington and want to bring back what they learned there and implement it at Whatcom,” said Samantha Williams of Whatcom’s Multicultural Academic Support Center (MASC). Williams will be one of four keynote speakers at the upcoming conference.

The Students of Color Conference is one of several conferences that Whatcom students have attended throughout the year, Alatorre said. At the conference, students explored and discussed topics surrounding social justice, diversity, and student leadership among other things.

Alatorre said the conference will begin with a Native American blessing followed by two keynote speakers from Whatcom’s MASC, Samantha Williams and Donna Thorn. Both Williams and Thorn are former Whatcom students.

He added that the conference will also include two keynote speakers from Western Washington University’s Ethnic Student Center, Teena Thach and Polly Woodbury. Both are first-generation students, meaning they are the first in their families to attend college.

“The conference will include a variety of student-led workshops,” Alatorre said.

Students, faculty and community members were invited to submit workshop proposals for the event, he added. Some workshop topics will include mentorship within the Latino community, mentorship with underrepresented students in the community, and issues of micro-aggressions and racist comments on campus, said Interim Director for Multicultural Academic Services Betsy Hasegawa.

Alatorre said the conference will be split into two sessions with lunch in between. Lunch will be provided for free to Whatcom students, and Tacos La Guelaguetza, a local taco truck owned by a Whatcom student’s family will also be selling menu items ranging from $3 to $8, he said.

The conference is open to all students and community members. Alatorre said that early registration is highly recommended but not required and can be done online until June 3. Registration can be done at the conference after June 3.


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College publication features creative and academic student work

By Anne Elliott


“The Noisy Water Review,” an annual publication of Whatcom Community College students’ academic and creative works, is currently accepting pieces from students who wish to submit any form of academic or creative writing, visual art, or music.

“The deadline is May 9, but we’d love to see work before then,” said Joanna Kenyon, who teaches creative writing and composition at Whatcom and helps coordinate the publication.

For the past four years, Noisy Water has published student works online, which allows for music submissions via mp3. This includes pieces composed for a class, spoken-word poetry, and songs written and performed by students or student bands, among other works.

In past publications, visual arts selections have included photography, paintings, sketches, and graphic works.

Academic works may include essays, articles, and research papers, while creative writing encompasses poetry, short stories, creative nonfiction, and even short plays.

“If you think that you have a work that is good enough, send it in,” Kenyon said. “We like to see a wide variety. I would love to see more coming from the writing-intensive biology classes.”

Kenyon said submissions go through a screening process where they are looked over by a team of volunteer students and teachers. They are then ranked on a scale from one to five via a private online survey.

“Every submission gets two readers at least, some get three or four depending on how many volunteers we get,” Kenyon said.

The pieces that rank highest are then reviewed and proofread by a smaller group of volunteers during a panel meeting, which was held last year at Kulshan Brewery.

Proofreader marks are then typed up by Kenyon, who sends the revised version to the student that submitted it, who then accept the edits or make changes.

Kenyon said that Karen Blakely of Whatcom’s Art Department processes all of the art pieces.

She added that Whatcom’s Music Department has been shifting, and that there will be a new music teacher in charge of musical submissions this year.

“Writing is where we get the bulk of submissions,” Kenyon said, adding that she would love to find more student volunteers.

The president of Whatcom’s Student Senate, Lucas Nydam, hopes to turn the entire operation into a mostly student-directed publication, and has hopes to bring back a hard-copy publication in addition to the online version, she said.

Nydam said he would like to see more frequent publications of Noisy Water in the future, with more student submissions for each publication. He said he would like to see an issue of Noisy Water come out twice a year if not quarterly.

Nydam said that he will be vice president of a new writing club, The Writers of Whatcom, currently forming under direction of the club’s president, Greg Lane. Nydam said he hopes that the club will have a large part in the creation of future Noisy Water Reviews.

Nydam had a piece published in last year’s Noisy Water publication, a free-verse poem called “Scrap.” He said the best part about being published is “putting a piece of yourself out there” and having other people read your work.

Kenyon said she hopes to see more student involvement and increased readership, although she also enjoys the way that students and teachers currently work together. “I would also love for Noisy Water to get its own URL in order for easier access,” she said. “Right now it’s kind of buried under other webpages.”

There will be a reading of selected written pieces from The Noisy Water Review at Village Books in Fairhaven at the end of spring quarter. Students interested in participating should email noisywater@whatcom.ctc.edu. Submissions can be sent as an email attachment.

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