by Gabriella Corrigan
At both ends of the mud streaked-field next to Kulshan Hall, bright orange cones mark the goals for an Ultimate Frisbee game. One player stands alone with the coveted Frisbee, searching for an open teammate in the crowd of eager opponents. In a split second, the plastic saucer is flying through the air again as players dive to grab it.
Every Friday, rain or shine, at 1 p.m. Whatcom’s Ultimate Frisbee Club meets out behind Roe Studio on Orca Field or in the field by Kulshan Hall to promote a carefree energy and get students out of the classroom to just have fun.
With clubs like the Service-Learning Club and the Bike Club, which sponsored May’s bike week, Whatcom tries to help students build a community outside of the classroom where they can make friends and enjoy “one of the most beautiful counties in Washington,” said Kris Baier, the director for student life and athletics.
The Ultimate Frisbee Club is an active, coed group that Tim Schwisow, one of the club’s organizers, calls “the best thing you can do outside.” It is “the most epic thing on the planet,” involving strategic skills and competitive drive, as any student who wants to join can slip, slide, and dive for the Frisbee, he said.
As a mix between football and soccer, it is an outdoor activity that will get students mud-splattered and their hearts racing.
“It is intense,” said club member Mike Furman, 20. “You don’t ever stop running.”
Students can also use Whatcom’s Orca Field for pick-up soccer games or football scrimmages. They can contact the activities director, Kris Baier, to reserve the field for free.
Western Washington University’s Lakewood water sports facility on the northwest shores of Lake Whatcom is another place where Whatcom students can spring into action. They can bring their Whatcom identification cards to the facility and enjoy the glacial lake while canoeing, sailing, kayaking, or swimming.
Many students like Ashley Hill, 19, find their outdoor solace by studying on Whatcom’s campus lawns. “I think it is important to be able to do activities outside of the classroom, especially for people that might not know a lot of people,” said Hill. “It is a good way to get to know people that you have things in common with.”
For Memorial Day weekend, Whatcom will also be kicking off their 45 year anniversary celebration by walking in the Ski-to-Sea parade with inflatable orca whales which will be decorated by each participating club. “We are creating our own pod,” said Baier.
The Bike Club will be in the parade with their club t-shirts, and students are welcome to come join the parade or support Whatcom on the sidelines.
Whatcom is also open to proposals for new clubs. “I would love it if we had an outdoor club,” said Baier. “It could morph into the different seasons” so that outdoor activities become a permanent part of Whatcom, continuing to build its community.
“Clubs are an integral and important aspect of the college experience and campus life,” which help students be more academically successful, said Kimberly Reeves, the Ultimate Frisbee Club’s advisor. They help “them to become part of the greater college community.”
“To be able to connect outside of the classroom is vital because you get to really know and understand your fellow students,” said Baier. “If everybody can get involved that is great.”