“Times are stressful for students with everyone just coming out of the pandemic and many students now having to get used to being on campus again. The Programming and Diversity Board (PDB) wanted to host an event to celebrate all of the hard work that students have put in and the work of the campus community in supporting student success,” said Gabriel Price, ASWCC VP for Programming of the event hosted on campus to celebrate a successful quarter at Whatcom Community College.
Students gathered in the Syre Student Center’s auditorium on Thursday, Dec. 1st to celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of students throughout the fall quarter. Refreshments and desserts were provided to students, along with games and music.
At the celebration, students came together and highlighted the efforts of those who helped to foster a space for learning and leading through their actions. The expansion of the food pantry would not have been possible without Dakshayini Kasinathan for her work as the ASWCC Health and Wellness Coordinator who has completed her last quarter at Whatcom. Additionally, the efforts of the Simpson Intercultural Center (IC) were noted to create an all-inclusive space on campus.
The End of Quarter Celebration had over 100 attendees, according to Price. “We were originally expecting around 50-60 students max but with the attendance of over 100 we quickly ran out of desserts at the event.”
Acknowledging the accomplishments of students has been possible because of the campus events done in collaboration with the PDB, Executive Board, and the Simpson Intercultural Center (IC) to engage the student body. Noah Thompson, the ASWCC VP for Social Justice Programming, expressed his excitement for planning upcoming events such as the Students Leading Change Conference, the Find Your Pod Conference, and Orca Day.
Events like these offer Whatcom students opportunities to facilitate discussions and connect with the broader campus community. Keenan Kaemingk, Associate Director for Student Life and Development, explains the difficulties in filling previously vacant student leadership roles: “One challenge, in the beginning, was a lot of the work we were doing was understaffed, but now we have staff to actually do it…students that are really engaging in putting on the programming.”
This October, the IC collaborated with partners at Western Washington University, Bellingham Technical College, and Bellingham Public Schools to host a screening of “Daughter of a Lost Bird” to hold space for Indigenous Peoples Day. Held in the Syre Auditorium, this event’s attendance was nearly at capacity.
“So we’re seeing very large numbers of people attending events and lots of engagement, which is really awesome. So I’ll say we’re adjusting to that and figuring out how many people we think are going to come to events because we don’t really have a precedent set for how many will attend,” Kaemingk continues.
“Without the work of student services faculty, student staff, or volunteers, larger-scale events like these would not be possible. In this transition back to campus, the budget for service and activities fees (S&A fees) has continued to go down along with enrollment. A decrease in the S&A budget can cause adverse effects, making it harder to fund events to engage the student body.”
ASWCC President Joshua Norton explained, “It should be well known that Whatcom is struggling with attendance and keeping everything funded with such low enrollment at the college.” With that low enrollment, the budget for services and activities fees (S&A fees) has continued to go down.
“Services and activities fees pay for almost every desk that has a student sitting at you know, so what that means is operationally we’re going to see [fewer] people at those desks because we don’t have the money to cover them,” Norton states. These fees are allocated to pay for jobs that provide students with resources to charter clubs, become involved in student-led committees, and amplify the voices of their peers.
“So while this may be one event to celebrate the end of the quarter, we hope that it also allows students to recognize who we are so that they can get more involved when making a club or [in] any other way.” -Keenan Kaemingk, Associate Director of Student Life and Development