by Alex Martinez
Lucas Nydam, 21, former student body president at Whatcom Community College has been hired as the new Admission Outreach Recruiter. Nydam was born in Bellingham and raised in Lynden, went to Lynden High School and graduated in 2012, and started at Whatcom in the fall of 2012.
Alex Martinez: What was your first job?
Lucas Nydam: When I was in high school, I started working at a retirement home in Lynden, kind of as waitstaff and eventually got promoted to cook and supervisor after working there for a year or so. Then I worked fulltime there [until] I graduated high school. I started attending Whatcom, and then my first year here, I still was there but I left for other opportunities.
AM: How did you hear about Student Life?
LN: My first year going to Whatcom, I started making a bunch of friends, and one person I met and became friends with was on the Executive Board. Just knowing her a little bit and knowing about her job, I was like, “that’s something I can see myself getting involved with.” I was always asking her about it and through that, I applied for the next year.
I met a lot of people and ended up getting the president job – which is a crazy awesome honor – that’s how I started getting involved. I always kind of wanted to take on a bigger role in my life, as opposed to just being a retirement home cook.
AM: What are some of the highlights during your presidency last year?
LN: The two biggest things of course, would be the moving of the Intercultural Center – that was a big effort from the Executive Board; specifically it was really Marco Morales… he really pushed forward, and I had a lot of support there for him. Then of course the smoke-free courtyard. That was a big project of mine last year – a big push – it took a lot of people; we did a lot of research and surveys. I think it ended up really well. I think it was a pretty smooth transition, compared to what a lot people expected.
AM: Can I ask you why you quit as president this year?
LN: I ended up resigning the position just because my academic plan had changed. I decided not to go for a business [degree] and now I’m looking more at English. I had taken so many English classes, that I had lot more [prerequisites] for that done. Once I do this three-credit Learning Contract, I can transfer to Western for English at any time. If [I had stayed] with business, I would have had to have been here the whole year. It was unfortunate that I had to give it up, but it didn’t make sense to me to be paying for classes, because in order to be student body president, you have to be a student and I was no longer going to be a student, so I couldn’t be the president. It was not a problem with the job – I loved the job and the team – it was a great job.
AM: With your new position what exactly do you do?
LN: I’ve only been at it for a week or so, but my main goal is going to be high school recruitment; reaching out to high schools and just continuing and expanding some of the efforts there, [such as] making sure seniors have guidance and support. [We are] also expanding outreach to some of the county communities like Kendall, Maple Falls, and Deming, which are places we haven’t traditionally had the resources to reach out to. So it’s kind of cool to get to break some ground there, figuratively, and kind of move [into those areas]. I’ll be helping on a lot of fieldtrips and my specific focus will be high schools and middle schools in the area. My job will be through the school year, but it’s a temporary contract.
AM: About your future, you said you are planning to transfer to Western, any other universities you might think about?
LN: I’m pretty much looking at Western right now… just because of the convenience, that it’s right in town. Either next winter or probably the following fall… just depending upon where I’m at when I can transfer to Western. I plan to pursue a bachelor’s of English and probably a master’s of education. I would love to work in a college, which is cool because I’m already working in a college.
AM: After getting a degree in education, would you consider coming back to Whatcom?
LN: I love Whatcom, and I definitely wouldn’t mind ending up here, but I also haven’t traveled very much and it will be cool to experience that for a bit. Bellingham will always be my home and Whatcom will always be my home.
AM: You’ve won some awards here at Whatcom; what’s that like?
LN: I was one of three people to win the 2014 ASWCC Outstanding Student Service Award, which was really cool. That was really an honor, and also, I didn’t technically receive it, because it was the work of the team, which I represented. [I also won] the 2014 CUSP (Council of Unions and Student Programs) Innovative Program Award at the Student Voice Academy. All of the colleges kind of got together and gave presentation about their colleges, like best practices, something they do that they think is really good and that can be replicated at other places. I talked about Whatcom’s and the ASWCC Seeds of Change Conference and just how integrated our leadership experience is with the Intercultural Program and social justice awareness. I talked about that and a lot of the advisors thought it was really good. They voted it to be the best practice, so there’s a nice plaque in Student Life.
AM: What are some of your passions?
LN: I’m really into social justice; I’m really into poetry, community building, community organizing, and marketing. I enjoy good food, I love hiking I love going into nature, the woods. Something I don’t like to do; I don’t like a lot of movies. [With] most movies I found myself wishing I was doing something else.
like others to know about you?
LN: What I want others to know about me is that my doors are always open. I work best with distraction; I really don’t like quiet. I like it when people say stuff to me in the hall, even if it’s like goofy and crazy. I really like that kind of [interaction].
AM: I know that you love fashion, what got you interested in it?
LN: I love the expressiveness of it. Yeah, that’s another thing I can see myself with–a huge closet; huge walk-in closet. I love it as an art form. … You get to express yourself through it. It’s one thing to have a piece of art in your house, but there’s nothing like being able to wear it around.
AM: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
LN: Ideally, I would love to be the president of a college and a famous slam poet; a small-business owner and a billionaire.