By Kara Veldman
Free food and conversation is available at Stone Soup nights every Tuesday, from 5-7pm in the Intercultural Center, Syre 217. These events were created in response to the student panelists from last school year’s All College Day who vocalized that “they deeply valued and felt supported by time spent with faculty and staff outside of the classroom in less formal settings.”
Stone Soup is an old folk story in which hungry strangers compel the local people of a town into sharing their food.
LaMon Allen, 21, is a student at Whatcom Community College, and works in the Intercultural Center. His goal for promoting Stone Soup night is to “provide a place where students and staff can interact on a non-professional basis so they can have regular conversations, and staff can get an idea of what students think.”
“It evens the playing ground,” said Allen.
The Intercultural Center is a place and a group of people that support educational equity and academic achievement for diverse student populations by providing access to resources and a safe place to connect through a culture of inclusion and respect.
Allen enjoys working for the Intercultural Center because he “wants to make sure the goal stays the same from when the IC was called the MASC, Multicultural Academic Support Center, which was roughly two years ago.”
The MASC was more focused on supporting multicultural students with their academics from high school to college or from going from a no educational background to an education.
“The IC has the same premise but focuses more on supporting students that are unrepresented. All of the non or lesser represented students are put into the intercultural center as a lump sum and they offer support to them,” said Allen.
His favorite thing about Stone Soup night is, “I get free food, there’s a cool social vibe, and it’s a good place for staff and students to connect.”
Cattie Fogelsong, 19, is a student at Whatcom. They have attended every Stone Soup night during fall quarter, and the majority of ones during winter quarter.
“I’ve met lots of new people,” Fogelsong said.
They were also one of the organizers for the Music Night in January.
Music night is an event put on through the Intercultural Center. People bring a variety of instruments, and there are performances and “some collaboration where we’ll all take part in the song that is being sung,” said Fogelsong. “I got to share music I do, and hear other people,” they said. “We are hoping to do another one soon.”
This is their first year at Whatcom, but they have lived in Bellingham their whole life. They are studying Psychology and Chemistry.
“The student-staff relationship is dependent on the teacher,” Fogelsong said. “Some teachers I can have a great relationship with, and some like to keep to a more professional level.”
The IC puts on multiple events a year. So far there has been the Whatcom Wave in the beginning of fall quarter, the Trans Day of Remembrance, hosted in Syre, an awareness event and workshop for the LGBTQ community, as well as helping put on the Martin Luther King conference.
Fogelsong helped out at the Trans Day of Remembrance as well. “It was an intense day,” they said. “We wrote on candles the names of people who had been violently killed for being transgender.”
Stone soup nights are “opportunities for students, faculty, and staff to meet in an informal space to connect, talk, enjoy food together, and build a stronger community,” according to the event webpage. It is advised to bring food to share. On Tuesday, February 23rd, dinner was provided with conversation and a documentary about the Black Panther movement was shown with discussion following.