Campus Briefs

Free workshop and courses offered

Several free and helpful opportunities are being presented at Whatcom next month. A Career/Life Planning Course is being offered by Turning Point from April 4 through April 21, beginning with a workshop on self-esteem.

The workshop, which will teach strategies for renewing self-worth and communicating effectively, will be offered three times—on April 14 from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., and also on April 12 and 14 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The workshop will be held in Kelly Hall, room 009.

The overall course is designed for those in transition and no longer supported by the income of another, will be offered Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to noon. A second class runs from April 12 through June 2 on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Participants of the course will identify their job skills, study the job market, explore career choices, and learn interviewing and resume techniques, among other things. For more information, to determine eligibility, or to register for the workshops or courses, contact Robin Bailey or Nancy Oettel at (360) 383-3132.  Childcare support and transportation assistance may be available for eligible participants.

Student Activities Updates

Several upcoming student events have been changed, according to Nate Vandermay, chair of programing and diversity at Whatcom.

The March 17 St. Patrick’s Day celebration, which was to feature a baked potato bar, has been canceled due to budget issues. Vandermay said if any celebration is held, it will likely be more low-key and last-minute.

Also, the March XX “Battle of the Bands” has been postponed to the beginning of next quarter. Finally, Vandermay said the March 4 Macklemore performance at the college sold about $650 worth of tickets, and about half of attending students were from Western Washington University.

“It was a good night,” Vandermay said of the concert.

Whatcom joins “Achieving the Dream”

Whatcom Community College is one of 30 U.S. community colleges selected to join the 2011 Cohort of the non-profit initiative “Achieving the Dream,” which seeks to “help more community college students succeed, particularly students of color and low income.”

The “Achieving the Dream” initiative seeks to help community colleges identify strategies for “improving student success, closing achievement gaps, and increasing retention, persistence, and completion rates.”

As a result, Whatcom will receive a $250,000 grant over the next four years to “ develop and implement research-based policies and practices based on quantitative and qualitative analyses of its institutional strengths, problem areas, and achievement gaps” in order to increase the number of students who stay enrolled and graduate.

The expansion of the program in Washington (which added 10 schools including Whatcom) was made possible by grants provided by College Spark Washington.

Whatcom President Kathi Hiyane-Brown was quoted in a press release saying she was  “very proud” of Whatcom joining the network, and added that “Achieving the Dream is another way for Whatcom to uphold its promise: To transform lives through education by supporting student growth, respecting student investment, embracing diversity, promoting excellence, and creating opportunities.”

Nationwide, there are 160 college institutions involved with the “Achieving the Dream” initiative.

“Fight Night” comes to Whatcom

FIGHTNIGHT ENTERTAINMENT Association, a Washington State-based non-profit organization promoting full-contact, pro-am mixed martial arts events, has teamed with Operation Homefront to present “FIGHT NIGHT: ‘Round XIII’ Impact,” a March 11 charity fundraiser in support of America’s armed forces that will be held inside Whatcom’s Pavilion gym.

The Friday night event will feature former UFC fighter Kit Cope fighting Brazilian Freddy Assuncao, as well as Seattle area hip-hop group B.O.S.S. performing a half-time concert. Special guest Jens “Lil’ Evil” Pulver, a former UFC Lightweight champion, will also be in attendance along with current UFC superstar and Washington resident Dennis “Superman” Hallman, who will sanction the amateur portion of the event.

The fights begin at 7:30 p.m., with the doors opening at 6:30 p.m. Tickets prices start at $20, and can be obtained by going to For more information, contact FNE at (360) 441-1183, or go to

The event can also be watched live on Internet Pay-Per View at

Annual Plant Sale to Blossom on March 19

The Whatcom Conservation District’s 18th annual Native Plant Sale and 4th annual Expo will be held at Whatcom Community College’s Roe Studio on March 19 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

The event’s purpose is to “promote the stewardship and conservation of our natural resources,” and will include a number of environmental exhibits and fun, educational demonstrations, as well as food and live music.

The plant sale caters to the native plant enthusiast, and features over 30 species of low-cost, conservation-grade native shrubs and seedling trees. All plant purchases will be on a first-come, first-serve basis, and must be paid for by cash or check. Proceeds from the sale will be used to support WCD education programs.

Order forms and plant descriptions are available on the WCD’s Web site,, or upon request from the WCD office at (360) 354-2035 ext. 3, or by e-mail at

Tax me, baby, one more time

Students, low-income families, and low-income seniors can get help with their tax returns at Whatcom Community College thanks to VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance).

The service is being provided by Whatcom Business Club students and certified community volunteers, and will be available in Whatcom’s Heiner Center lobby every Monday (5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.), Tuesday (5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.), and Friday (9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.) between now and April 18, with the exception of several dates (March 25-April 4).

Those interested who qualify for help should bring Social Security cards for themselves as well as for any spouses or dependents, a copy of their previous year’s return (if possible), all W-2 forms, all 1099s received, all forms showing federal income tax paid and economic recovery payment, unemployment compensation benefits, any 1098 or other forms from your college (if applicable), or any other material needed to complete a return.

Volunteers will only be able to file six to eight returns a day due to having only two laptops, so those unable to wait for help can also contact the Bellingham Public Library at (360) 778-7323 for information on their help dates and times.

Kumquat Poetry Challenge Announced

Whatcom Community College’s fifth annual Kumquat Poetry Challenge, in celebration of April’s National Poetry Month, has been announced.

A creation of Whatcom’s library staff, the challenge is open to all past and present students, faculty, staff, and board members of the college. The challenge consists of having to write a poem that must include 10 specific words. This year’s words: circle, expect, indelible, knot, lodge, poise, rock, storm, translucent, watch.

The words can be in pluralized or “-ing” suffix form, but the whole words must be used. The top three winners of the contest will receive their choice of a plate of cookies, brownies, or scones, home-baked by library staff.

Light or serious poems are all welcome. Submissions, in Word document form, should be e-mailed to no later than April 18 at 8 a.m. A publishing party for the contest will be held on April 27. Those with questions about the contest can contact Ara Taylor at

Student Success Workshops

Whatcom will offer its final Student Success Workshop of the quarter on Monday, March 14. As student finals are upcoming, the workshop will deal with test anxiety. It will be held from 1 to 2 p.m. in Cascade 101.

For more information, contact Entry and Advising at (360) 383-3080.

Free Help Desk

The IT Professionals of Tomorrow are available to help any Whatcom students with their computer issues with their free, student-run help desk. The help desk will be located outside of the Student Access Lab in Heiner 105, and will be available on Mondays and Tuesdays from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Services include virus removal, diagnostics, and installations.

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