The Observer- Spring 2021, Issue 9

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June 2, 2021

Vol. 119 NO. 9

President Gaudino: His closing words Outgoing President Gaudino reflects on 12 years he served as CWU’s President By Sean Bessette As the school year comes to a close, so does James Gaudino’s tenure as President. Gaudino shared some of his favorite and least favorite moments over the past 12 years and provided an update to some of his university-wide goals before his successor, A. James Wohlpart, steps in. University-Wide Goals Retention Rate The pandemic has not been kind to the university’s retention rate, according to Gaudino. “We were on the right trajectory, but then, somewhat not surprising, COVID,” Gaudino said. The retention rate won’t be known until the fall, but Gaudino said he’s had students tell the university that they’ve dropped out because of the online environment and the lack of face-toface interaction. Faculty and Staff Diversity According to Gaudino, CWU’s diversity among faculty and staff has continued to improve, but this isn’t the easiest metric to improve. “We bring in, you know, 2,000 plus students every year. We don’t bring in 2,000 plus faculty and staff every year,” Gaudino said. “So we only have an opportunity to hire when, you know, someone leaves for whatever reason.

Gaudino is proud of the progress the university has had towards diversifying the faculty and staff with the somewhat limited opportunities. “When we look at our success rates among our opportunities to diversify, it’s quite good,” Gaudino said. “We are leading the state there.” Carbon Footprint Reduction CWU is continuing to make progress towards lowering its carbon footprint, according to Gaudino. “One of the things we do that we’re very, very proud of is that we build new buildings to LEED [Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design] standards and that’s important because one of the criteria of a LEED certified building is its carbon footprint,” Gaudino said. When a university vehicle needs to be replaced, CWU is purchasing an all-electric or hybrid vehicle instead of a gas-powered one. There will be an all-electric campus police car seen on campus next fall, according to Gaudino. Gaudino pointed towards the hire of Kathleen Klaniecki, CWU’s sustainability director, as an additional measure towards reducing the school’s carbon footprint. According to Gaudino, Klaniecki is involved in the decision-making process of issues, trying to point out sustainable solutions.

Gaudino, Page 5

Courtesy of the CWU Flickr

CWU makes admissions tests optional By Libby Williams

CWU has announced that the SAT and ACT are both optional for all applicants starting fall 2021. This decision comes after about a year of discussion, and will be a permanent change, even after the pandemic.

“It’s something that many schools have been talking about for a really long time,” said Provost and Vice President for Academic and Student Life Michelle DenBeste said. “The pandemic

kind of pushed the conversation forward, which to me is good. We’re agreeing to make SAT or ACT scores optional for admission. No one need feel like they have to take them.”

DenBeste started working at CWU in May of last year, right at the start of the pandemic. She said there has been a team discussing this

Page 3 Study abroad suspension

Page 5 Chimpanzee talk

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Goodbye CWU

End of the year celebration

Admissions test, Page 3


This week, online

Care for a dance?

June 2, 2021


CWU’s golf simulator.

Kittitas Elementary Playground.

Editorial: After so much talk, it is now time for action A new chapter in CWU’s history will officially begin on Monday as new president A. James Wohlpart takes over for outgoing President James L. Gaudino. For the first time in 12 years, someone other than Gaudino will be at the helm. During Wohlpart’s tenure, one thing worth monitoring is his commitment to diversity in the job. In the hiring process for Wohlpart, the importance of diversity was repeated on several occasions by the university. A Nov. 2, 2020 press release regarding the search emphasized the diversity of the five finalists for the position. According to the press release, three of the finalists were women and two were people of color. “We were delighted to have an extremely diverse and talented pool of candidates,” Trustee Erin Black said in the November press release. Yet Wohlpart, a white male who comes to CWU after serving as the Provost of University of Northern Iowa (UNI), was the candidate who was ultimately selected. In a press release announcing his hiring, CWU again touted Wohlpart’s commitment to diversity. “The university community said that authentic experience with a deep commitment to inclusion and diversity should be hallmarks of the new president, and Dr. Wohlpart has demonstrated innovation and personal investment in these areas,” Trustee Erin Black said at the time. “He embraces a culture that welcomes diverse and dissenting viewpoints, but understands

we must be willing to challenge longheld assumptions and come together around a shared vision.” In comments to the university, Wohlpart has said he is up to the task. During an introductory press conference in January, Wohlpart said he was committed to bringing an inclusive culture to CWU. “What I’m interested in is creating a culture of belonging for everyone at the institution, so that they can feel their whole human selves and feel welcomed for who they are,” Wohlpart said at the time. At that time, Wohlpart said it is a “moral obligation” for CWU to ensure that every admitted student can be successful. Wohlpart said he planned to review the curriculum, hiring and other policies at CWU. “The work that I’ve done, both at [Florida Gulf Coast University] and UNI, is to help those students of color be successful,” Wohlpart said in January. “I think that I have incredible experience with understanding how to build teams and initiatives that allow those students to thrive.” After the importance of diversity and inclusivity of the campus was stressed throughout the hiring process, it is important to track the job he does. While both CWU and Wohlpart have said all the right lip service during the transition period, talk is cheap, and it is now time for Wohlpart to act on the “moral obligation.”

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June 2, 2021



Study abroad suspension extended through the end of 2021 By Sam Harris CWU has extended its suspension of university-related international travel through the end of 2021. This means the earliest that the office of international studies and programs could continue its education abroad programs is January 2022. “We have bilateral exchanges in Australia, Japan, South Korea, France and Scotland,” Steve Cook, the associate director of Education Abroad, said. “Through the large variety of programs available, students have options all over the world, including Antarctica.” CWU has also offered many faculty-directed programs in several other countries such as Ireland, Mexico, Belize, England, Greece, Italy, Macau and Guam. Each program in education abroad has its own set of eligibility criteria depending on language fluency and majors. How the education abroad programs will be conducted and where education abroad will send students

Graphic by Javier Medrano

is still dependent on which countries will have opened up their borders by January 2022. Australia for example has closed its borders for international

Admissions test from Page 1 change since before she was hired. This team consisted of administrators and faculty. DenBeste said all of Washington’s public institutions are making this change in their admissions process, and she thinks it’s for the better. “We’ve known for a long time that standardized testing was problematic for a lot of groups,” DenBeste said. “It’s always been an obstacle for students coming from disadvantaged backgrounds.” DenBeste said there are many factors that make standardized testing inequitable. Some high schools offer more AP classes and standardized testing prep than others. Some students can afford to take the tests over and over until they get a good score, while others can only afford to take it once. “I’ve been surprised that this is even controversial., I think it’s a good thing for all,” said DenBeste. “Whether you’ve come from a really fancy school and you took all the classes, or whether you’re a late bloomer, and you didn’t get ahead in that way.” DenBeste said she imagines more public schools nationwide will follow suit in making these tests optional, and that most schools in California have been doing this for at least a year. She said it’s become more clear to school’s that the bottom line is that standardized tests are a part of a corporation to make money. “I think that we’ve been pretending like these are objective when they neer really were,” said DenBeste said. “[We’ve] sort of been using them as a crutch, so I think it’s a really good thing for all students, and particularly for Central students. You know, we’re not that selective, if you meet the criteria, we’re likely going to let you in.” Photo courtesy of Casey Rothgeb

Washington’s public institutions are making admissions tests optional, according to DenBeste.

travel, and may not be an option for the coming academic year. Beyond their education, students can explore the area of their host uni-

versities. Looking into the different opportunities the international universities offer can help students make the most out of their visit. “Students can also do internships, service-learning and research abroad,” Cook said. “Some students, whether as individuals or part of a club/organization, attend conferences or competitions. We’ve even had students and groups perform abroad.” Education abroad not only plans to send students abroad, but also expects to host many international students on the CWU campus. Through the bilateral exchange program many international students are expected to come to CWU to study. According to Stacy Soderstrom, assistant director office of international studies and programs, CWU already hosts many international students. “Currently we have about 400 international students throughout our CWU programs,” Soderstrom said. Compared to the 500 international students from the previous academic year, CWU can expect to host even more in 2022.

The Early Bird


June 2, 2021


Now located in downtown Ellensburg on Main Street By Justin Zabel Do you enjoy waking up early and going to breakfast? Want some chicken and waffles or a scramble bowl? Luckily the Early Bird Cafe, and its new location, has you covered. Jeannie Bayles, the restaurant’s owner, said after a rough business climate the past year, The Early Bird made it through thanks to the support of the town. “It definitely made us realize how supportive the community is. They really rallied around all small businesses and town and supported us through it,” Bayles said. “We wouldn’t be where we are without the community.” The Early Bird’s newest digs are on main street where the Iron Horse Brewery was previously located, at 412 N Main St. “We are in a much better, more visible location. Being on Main street kind of opened up a whole new demographic of people,” Bayles said. “When we were over on water street we were just so tucked away in the corner, out of sight, out of mind. Moving to Main street defi-

nitely brought in a lot of people who have not dined with us before.” With the move, The Early Bird began offering new options on their menu, while keeping old favorites. “Some of the older ones, the scramble bowl, it’s a classic. All of our waffles are really well received,” Bayles said. “Some of our new stuff that we introduced with the move to main street. A chicken and waffles that people are in love with. We have a burger, a breakfast burger, called the early burger. That one is generally well received.” Bayles used knowledge of the town and the breakfast eateries already in place in order to come up with the business plan. “Before I opened I was brainstorming. I originally was looking at doing a food truck and breakfast specifically. I felt there was a lot of great stable breakfast restaurants in town,” Bayles said. “But they serve more classic breakfast and I just thought we needed something more off the traditional menu. A little more unique, healthier. That is where it came from.”

Photo courtesy of Source Inside Main Street Restaurant (New Location)

But a question many want to know is how Bayles came up with the restaurant name, The Early Bird. “I’ve had a business plan to start breakfast. I love breakfast. I love the mornings,” Bayles said. “I’ve al-

Cle Elum to open new summer Public Market By Jackson Sorensen



The Cle Elum Downtown Association is hosting their own local business market. Every Saturday, excluding July, of the next three months, the Cle Elum Downtown Association will host this market from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Harris Ave. between 1st Street and Railroad Street. The market will be conducted on June 5, July 10, August 7 and September 4. Taryn Lundh is the program assistant for the Cle Elum Downtown Association and has had this idea since the end of last year. She and her team have been working on and off with this project since the end of last year. “We’ve wanted to do this market for a while,” Lundh said. “The Promotion Committee liked the idea, we just didn’t have enough staff to make it actually happen.” The Cle Elum Downtown Association has put on markets before. However, this is their first big market. The Downtown Association put on a Mother’s Day market featuring local businesses. There were about 10 vendors at the Mother’s Day Market. Lundh is estimating around 20 vendors for the first Public Market. She currently has 12 vendors signed up already. “For our June market, every vendor will get a 10x10 tent and will

be placed 6-feet apart from other booths,” Lundh said. “Hopefully, once the state opens up at the end of June, we can fit more vendors along that street.” Lundh said that masks and social distancing will still be monitored throughout the duration of the market. She said at the June market there will be an entrance lane, an exit lane and a one-way for cars to pass through. “We decided on Saturdays every month because this is our first big market and we don’t have any prior experience,” Lundh said. “This is almost like a test of our abilities and the community support.” Lundh said the vendor application takes about five minutes and is sent directly to her email for approval. When vendors sign up, they are able to choose how long they would like to participate in the market. An individual week is $35 and the entire season is $100. “Right now, all I’m doing is reviewing these applications,” Lundh said. “So you’ll be approved for the market and sent the next steps rather quickly.” Lundh advises attendees bring cash with them, wear a mask and bring comfortable shoes for walking around the market as well as downtown Cle Elum.

ways and had a business plan wrote when I was in college but it was called Blue Bird Bagelry and I always thought that was something I would do. When this came to fruition I just used that as inspiration and came up with The Early Bird.”

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June 2, 2021


College of Science to host USC speaker for virtual chimpanzee talk By Jamie Wyatt A virtual science talk will be held on June 1 for the Science on Tap series, with guest speaker from University of Southern California (USC) Maureen McCarthy, doctor of integrative and evolutionary biology speaking about her undergraduate and doctoral research projects. McCarthy’s research projects involved traveling to Uganda to study chimpanzee behavior as their habitat shrinks around them. McCarthy has ties to CWU and became an intern as a summer apprentice at the former Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute when it was still open. McCarthy also did her Master’s program at CWU. When asked about the Science on Tap series McCarthy said, “I have continued to be a fan of everything that CWU is doing in their science program and the primate behavior program.” As part of McCarthy’s undergraduate and graduate research, she helped to collect data on chimpanzees in Uganda and chose to continue that research by studying the effects of the chimpanzees’

Gaudino from Page 1 Under Gaudino’s leadership, the current capital master plan has been completed to a large extent and the school is looking towards the next capital master plan. The next plan will have a large focus on sustainability, according to Gaudino. “Under the leadership of James Wohlpart, my successor, I think you’re going to see almost a next wave of sustainability,” Gaudino said. Biggest Success The biggest success of Gaudino’s tenure is the growing sense of pride around the university, according to Gaudino. “When I arrived here, I would sometimes be told by faculty, staff and students, ‘You know I could have gone to school somewhere,’” Gaudino said. Nowadays, Gaudino said there is a lot less of that. The growing sense of pride has resulted in more donations, higher annual giving and more capital funding from the state legislature. “People are recognizing things are happening at CWU and then that brings resources to us and of course, resources brings greater pride,” Gaudino said. Biggest Regret “I was brought up to give it my all, so that even if there was something that I didn’t achieve, I knew that it wasn’t because I didn’t give it every ounce of effort that I could,” Gaudino said. “I used every tool in my toolbox to make it happen, and I believe in my heart that I did that so I didn’t, you know, shrug or didn’t let something go by without giving it my full effort.”

Photo courtesy of Maureen McCarthy Science on Tap is a monthly series with new virtual talks every first Tuesday of the month.

shrinking habitat and how it affects their behavior and survival. McCarthy plans to explore the topics surrounding chimpanzees’ endangered status and what can be done to combat the issues that keep chimpanzees

Due to those things, Gaudino doesn’t have a biggest regret. He does wish there were things he could’ve accomplished earlier, such as diversifying the faculty and staff sooner and to a greater extent. “It would be nice if, for example, every student who comes to CWU could see themselves in a faculty member every quarter they’re here,” Gaudino said. “It doesn’t mean they’re going to be exactly like them, right, but they could see someone who was of color, they could see someone who has their background, they could see someone who has their sexual orientation or whatever the personal identity is.” Gaudino said that statement isn’t true just yet, as a student might go a few quarters without seeing a faculty or staff member like them, but the foundation has been laid for that statement to be true in the near future. Biggest Hardship “The biggest hardship was the first three years when we had those incredible budget crises and overcoming it was not easy,” Gaudino said. Instead of laying employees off, he reduced people’s FTE by 10% so all of the full-time employees were sharing the burden. He also froze salary increases. “Was that a popular decision at the time? No, it was not,” Gaudino said. “But looking back, was it the right way? Yeah.” The lack of layoffs under Gaudino’s leadership during the economic crisis benefited the school as society recovered. “We were all still here,” Gaudino said. “Where in other universities they had lost hundreds of people and were all still here, and we could then

in Uganda endangered. This includes the chimpanzees living in fragmented forest patches, conflict that arises from chimpanzees’ interactions with the human populations and what their future survival might look like.


Students can expect a Zoom meeting in which McCarthy gives her talk on her research, followed by a question and answer session afterward. The event is meant to bring awareness to the Ugandan chimpanzees’ plight in conversation with the continuing effects of climate change. “We hope to share work, to educate, and bring some topics that people don’t necessarily experience in their every day and to make it easy for them to sit back in a casual setting and learn and ask questions, and be exposed to something new,” Danna Boshak, graduate student of the primate behavior program said. Boshak was the one to bring in McCarthy for the webinar. Science on Tap is a monthly series with new virtual talks every first Tuesday of the month, and the next one features McCarthy’s talk titled “Imperiled Next of Kin: Exploring Chimpanzee Behavioral Flexibility in a Human-Dominated Landscape of Uganda,” June 1 at 7 p.m. here. The Science on Tap series will be running throughout the summer, however, speakers have not yet been lined up at press time.

Courtesy of the CWU Flickr

Gaudino’s last day serving as President will be Sunday, June 6.

return the 0.9’s to 1.0’s [FTE], we could start giving raises and we saw a quicker rebuild.” Favorite Memories One of Gaudino’s favorite memories are all of the times students have competed against other schools. One specific competition Gaudino shared was when the jazz combo competed against schools such as the University of Southern California and the University of California, Los Angeles and won best combo at a festival and was invited to perform at the Monterey Jazz Festival. “It was pretty cool and that was a very, very prideful moment but that’s been repeated time and time again across the spectrum of activities,” Gaudino said. Another prideful moment for Gaudino was the last accreditation visit. Gaudino said the accreditation process is a nerve-wracking one, but this one was a little different. “They said, ‘Well, this is our conclusion of Central Washington University. You are an excellent university on the cusp of greatness,’” Gaudino said.

That statement served as a sense of validation for Gaudino. Gaudino’s Lasting Legacy For Gaudino, his legacy isn’t something he gets to proclaim but rather something that people remember him for. He hopes he’s remembered for his sense of community. “It is my hope that we all have learned that we are stronger working together than we are fighting one another, arguing with one another and competing with one another,” Gaudino said. “If we all sit down and work together towards a common goal, there’s really nothing we can’t achieve. He said as long as students are on the forefront of decisions, there is no problem too big for the university to navigate through. “[Students] success really becomes our success and the collective of everybody at the university,” Gaudino said. “It’s the proof of the singularity of our mission, which is to provide an educational experience that is second to none.”

Bye bye CWU Derek Harper My senior year here has been full of ups and downs thanks to the pandemic, but it’s opened my eyes to various aspects both in and out of the academic setting. While I think classes should’ve been in-person in some form this quarter, The Observer worked great online with the regular meetings. The Observer proved that a rare class here or there works almost perfectly online. One thing, however, I was disappointed in was how eerie the SURC felt. The restrictions the school put in this year negatively impacted the college experience. I used to go to the gym there. Before moving off campus, I’d meet friends for dinner and go to movies there sometimes. To the freshmen reading this, assuming campus is fully open in the fall, take advantage of the SURC. It’s a place to spend time with others, take part in fun events, make new friends and have a good time. I was disappointed in the one person per table guideline at the SURC and not being able to gather in groups to hang out there. Whether it was watching a game or grabbing dinner with a group of people in past years, it was always fun to hang out and have a good time. It was tough to see it so empty this year. The past two years I lived on north campus and it was always

nice to meet with friends at Panda Express. However, this year it was only grab and go. I understood that the school and county had slightly different regulations. I also understood this was likely due to things the state might have said. But it just made no sense to me with how open other places in town were at the same time. Another disappointing aspect that confused me was how we couldn’t attend a sporting event on campus, especially outdoors. Yet, it was proved to be a safe thing to do at other schools including Ellensburg High School. We couldn’t even have more than one student media reporter attend games.

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Mitchell Roland

Rebekah Blum

Before getting into this opini like to first warn you I’ll be using ences from a popular show and mo Have you ever seen the end o Breakfast Club,” the movie direc John Hughes? If you haven’t, well … the end, it’s liberating. Anyways, to the point, this isn’t about the Bre Club, or how great Molly Ringwa aged, or how John Bender (Judd N still gets the girl even though he’s k trash through the whole movie. This opinion is actually about m ing my farewells to CWU. SPOILER alert, don’t read anym you don’t want the end of The Bre Club spoiled, even though, now think about it, I already spoiled it. Goodbye CWU, as I finish up nal quarter here I’ll always rememb sweet memories you left me with a as the ones where I thought I wo make it another second. For the most part, it’s been a b personally want to thank the pro and friends residing in Randall Ha building) because that’s where I f most alive and accepted when on ca I’ll never forget all the late nights I there or when I rode my scooter a the halls thinking I was the coolest the block. Of course, where there are high are also lows. During my years at there were many nights where I fe Kevin Malone from the Office. What episode, you ask? Episo of season 5, the one where he his chili, hauls it up the stairs an spills it everywhere and is in com and utter distress.

BYE BYE CW On Sept. 13, 2019, my doctor told me a CT scan revealed a benign cyst on my brain, that I would need to consult with a neurosurgeon. This came after a summer of the worst head pain I’ve ever experienced, and it came less than a week before I was scheduled to move to Cheney to start at EWU. I scheduled an appointment for early November, and I followed through on moving five hours away from my friends, family and everything else I knew. While I enjoyed EWU’s campus, I realized quickly that I was in the wrong place. Beyond knowing I had an approaching meeting with a neurosurgeon, I had an unshakable feeling that if I stayed at EWU I wasn’t going to get where I wanted to go. I remember sitting in my mom’s office during one of my first visits home and telling her that I had made a huge mistake and that I thought I needed to transfer again. She was of course concerned and confused since I had only moved away a month earlier. But she was also understanding and supportive and told me that I needed to do what I thought was right. In early November I flew back to Seattle, where I was fortunately told I would not need surgery. Even still, I knew I needed to leave EWU. After I posted my decision on Facebook, a friend in CWU’s journalism department immediately reached out and told me I should transfer here. Throughout that winter, they frequently sent me encouraging messages. They invited me to campus and told me to sit in on one of The Observer’s production nights. It was through this encouragement that I realized this was the place I needed to be, and I transferred here last spring.

When I transferred to CWU, I didn’t expect to get so emotionally attached to the school. Yet here we are. I’ve greatly enjoyed my time at CWU, at The Observer and in Ellensburg. However, there is a weirdness in my graduation from CWU. Since my first quarter as a student was spring 2020, every single one of my classes has been virtual. The only time I’ve been in a classroom on campus was during a campus visit. I’ve been inside The Observer newsroom a total of three times. And since I completed my first two quarters from my parent’s house near Seattle, I’ve lived in Ellensburg for a total of nine months. I want to thank my friends and family who have continued to love and support me on this adventure, even when I needed to change my path. If you take anything away from this rambling column, let it be to always do what you think is right. I dropped out of school after a quarter and moved back to my parent’s house. I transferred schools and moved out during a pandemic. To get to this point, I’ve made difficult decisions. But I always tried to do what I thought was best in the long term.

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In all honesty, the rough nights I had were like when Kevin saw the elevator was out of service and had to take the stairs, but when COVID-19 came that’s when I related to Kevin actually spilling his chili everywhere. Even after the chili incident, Kevin went on working three more seasons, similarly, I went on to continue working on my degree and jumping hurdles to finally get to where I am now. Alright, you’re probably wondering why I even mentioned The Breakfast Club ending, here’s why. As a practicing designer I can’t leave my readers without a nice little picture in their head. So, as I say farewell to CWU and all my great professors, all I ask of you is to imagine me as John Bender in the final moments of The Breakfast Club, walking dramatically across a football field and raising one fist in the air in triumph, because I’m truly happy to say, I did it.

WU Abigail Duchow My time at CWU was short and sweet. Any longer and I probably would have completely lost my mind along the way. I did running start at Wenatchee Valley College and was able to get two years of college under my belt before graduating high school, so I started at CWU with a junior standing. I got two regular quarters of university in before COVID-19 hit, and it was all downhill from there. I definitely found myself thinking “I just need to get through this week” at the beginning of every week.

Kassidy Malcolm As my senior year at Central comes to an end, I can’t help but feel overwhelmingly grateful for all this school has provided for me. From meeting two of my best friends freshman year in the dorms, to pursuing a degree I’m very passionate about, to pushing myself physically and mentally as an athlete on the basketball court. Central has become a second home to me and I’m so thankful for all the opportunities I’ve gained during my time here. Coming in as a little freshman can be very daunting. It’s the first time away from home, students are completely independent and it is a lot of responsibility to take on. But it is one of the best experiences learning how to be on your own and finding ways to make it work. It’s crazy looking back at freshman me to the person I have become today. Freshman me was quiet, scared to fail and unsure of who she was. Now, four years later, I have more confidence in myself, who I am and the woman I want to be. Although being scared to fail still crosses my mind, I’d rather fail trying than not trying at all because of fear. This time of our lives is a lot of growing, learning and figuring out what we are going to

Even before everything shifted to online I struggled with being interested in my classes, and maybe that’s my fault for being a public relations major, but when it all went virtual it was damn near impossible for me to be interested or stay engaged at all. Thankfully, I minored in sociology, which I’m very interested in, so at least that kept my GPA up. My virtual experience has been far from peachy. The public relations program already had very few professors to begin with, and then CWU laid off the professors I was familiar with in the program (along with some other professors in the Communications Department), which definitely wasn’t helpful. I have witnessed some of the worst Canvas organization I’d ever seen throughout my four years using that site. I understand not every professor is familiar with it, but some assignments didn’t even have due dates listed on them. Anyone who’s used Canvas as a student knows without a due date assignments don’t show up in your to-do list, which means it may as well not even exist. Don’t even get me started on the confusing assignment descriptions. Yeah, these are “unprecedented times,” yes, it’s “difficult for everyone right now,” but getting professors trained in using Canvas so students can have relatively normal classes would have been nice, especially considering attendance cost is

do with our future. I know I struggled at first choosing a major because the idea of doing one thing for the rest of my life scared me to death. Ultimately I chose a degree that doesn’t particularly tie me down to one occupation and that is what worked best for me. It’s all about following your gut and doing what is going to make you the happiest. Know that it is okay to not have it all figured out because I didn’t and if I’m being honest, I still don’t. Don’t worry about what other people are doing around you. All that matters is if you find something that you are passionate about, you go for it. When it comes down to it, these four years are over in a blink of an eye. I suggest you spend it doing what you love, hanging out with people who bring out the best in you and learn as much as you can because you will never get this time back. Cherish those long nights of studying, waking up for 8 a.m. classes, and for some, the hard days of practices, because one day you might just miss it dearly.

about $25,000 per year, give or take. I’m officially about $46,000 in debt (before you ask, yes, my interest rates are painful) for classes I feel I have gained little to nothing from. On the bright side, I’m glad I was able to stumble across The Observer and I have had classes with some great professors. I’ve gained some good experience from working on the paper, and I’ve found that I really enjoy editing, especially controversial stories. Working entirely virtually was a bit of a struggle but we made it work. It’s a strange time to be in the media industry, but I mean, when is it not a strange time to be in the media industry? I understand that I am just part of one of the unlucky classes that had to deal with all the repercussions of a pandemic, but I feel with how much money is pumped into universities it could have been so much better. Maybe I should have taken a gap year, but I really didn’t feel like putting my degree on hold for some indefinite amount of time, and I don’t know if I’d even want to come back. So no, in case anyone was wondering, I will not be buying a $72 robe-cap-andgown regalia package to take a picture and upload it for a slideshow to somehow replace commencement. I think $46,000 is enough for my piece of paper.



June 2, 2021

Student Appreciation Week By Ondrea Machin & Lexi Wicks There’s only one week left in the quarter and what better way to celebrate than with student appreciation week. Monday Movie Madness, Student Club Fest, Headphone Disco and many other events took place May 24-28 to appreciate students. “Typically, campus activities would just have one day and call it student appreciation but this year with the COVID protocall, we decided to spread it out into a whole week to allow more activities for students to participate in,” said Avery Cortinas, special events coordinator of CWU campus activities. All of these events were held in person, although students were expected to keep their distance and wear face masks. “I am hoping that [this] will give [students] something to celebrate at the end of the year since we have been online this whole year,” Cortinas said. “Hopefully, it will give [students] something to look forward to and celebrate this crazy different year that we have had to experience all together.” Monday - Monday Movie Madness Starting the week off was the showing of “Wonder Woman 1984” at Monday Movie Madness. Junior Public Health major with a specialization in population health Makenna Theringer said she attended the event because it is a good movie and gives her an opportunity to meet up with friends. Theringer also attended a few of the drive-in movies Campus Activities hosted. She said she and her friends loved the drive-in movies as well. “Both the drive-in ones they had we’ve gone to because I have a truck and we sit in the back of it and so that’s fun but they had to move it inside because of the wind,” Theringer said. After seeing them play “Wonder Woman 1984,” Theringer said she would like to see more of the superhero movies, such as Marvel and more DC Universe, and newer movies in general. Special Events Coordinator for Campus Activities Katie Doonan said in previous years, Campus Activities chose what movie to play based on what is doing well in theaters and ones that are family friendly. This year, they looked at popular movies on Disney+ and Netflix. Doonan said they are always open to suggestions from students. Tuesday - Club Fest Over 20 students came to Club Fest on May 25 to check out the clubs on campus. Freshman Anthropology major Rachel Pfander said she heard about the event through all the advertising on campus and

(Left to right): Sophomore Religious Studies major Parker Parker, Sophomore History Social Studies Education major Danielle Hegarty. has been looking for ways to get involved on campus, as well as meet new people. “I am excited to hang out and to do some activities as well as learn a little bit more about what we have here,” Pfander said. Pfander didn’t have a specific club she was looking to join, but she ended up joining the cosplay club. Freshman Psychology major Kendall Johnson said she found out about club fest, after reading the “what’s going on this week” flyers in the SURC. Johnson was also looking to make new friends and get involved on campus. “The event was fun!” Johnson said. “Everyone I spoke to was really nice and they made me feel very welcomed.” Johnson also wasn’t looking for a specific club to join, she said she wanted to see what clubs CWU has to offer. Special Events Coordinator for Campus Activities Avery Cortinas said the goal of this event is to have as many clubs as possible to participate and get students excited and involved for the upcoming school year. “So we just wanted to get students excited about the opportunities they’re going to have moving forward and kind of let them know that there are so many different opportunities for them to express their interest,” Cortinas said. If students were unable to attend the event, there is still a way for them to get involved. The Inter Club Association page on CWU’s website, https://www., all the information about the clubs and when they meet will be on there, as well as on the individual clubs’ social media pages. Wednesday - ESC Block Party Wildcats gathered outside the SURC Wednesday afternoon for the Equity and Services Counsel (ESC) Block Party. The east patio was lined with tables representing

each organization that makes up the ESC. “[The ESC] is composed of [nine] traditionally marginalized communities of students,” said Gared Contawe, member of the Filipino American Student Association (FASA), one of the represented communities within ESC. The organizations that make up ESC are: Asia University America Program, Black Student Union, Central African Student Association, Equality through Queers and Allies, Filipino American Student Association, First Generation Student Organization, South Asian Student Association, Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlan, and PolyCentral. The event helped bridge the gap between each organization of ESC and other CWU students. Each booth provided information on the individual clubs, links to social media, fliers of information and free goodies. Students in attendance were given a slip of paper at the entrance of the event. The goal was to have each booth sign the slip of paper to prove you talked to each organization. In return, students were given a free t-shirt in exchange for the completed paper. “The biggest take away from this is that it’s an event for students to come and connect with other students to find out what is happening on campus through other groups and honestly, just have a good time,” Contawe said. Thursday - BBQ & Concert The east patio was yet again filled with students as Campus Activities hosted a BBQ and Concert event. “Yeah it is a really cool event and we love doing events out on the east patio. It is really just a neat place,” said Joe Ritchie, executive chef of dining services. Ritchie helped put together the menu that consisted of several options for students to choose from. These include mini

burgers, mini veggie burgers, pork quesadillas, veggie quesadillas, and veggie wraps with green goddess dressing. The quesadillas were cooked out of “the wagon.” The dining services’ wagon has been parked for over a year now and Ritchie said he was excited to see it up and running again. He hopes to use the wagon much more now that the COVID-19 restrictions are loosening up. Along with food, there were plenty of drink options as well. The Coke truck made an appearance to hand out drinks to students as well as an italian soda bar that came with a free cup for students to take home with them. The concert portion of the event was held in the ballroom of the SURC. Students could grab their drink and dinner of choice and make their way inside to watch the performances. “I didn’t get to attend the last [open mic night] of the quarter and I am a senior so it’s kind of sad,” Doonan said. “This is like the last open mic night of the year for me, forever. I am really excited to see the performers that show up for our students.” Student artists performed all evening as students came in and out of the ballroom. Many students attended the concert in the ballroom for entertainment as they ate their barbeque dinner. Thursday - Headphone Disco The Wildcats broke out their dancing shoes late Thursday night at the Headphone Disco. More than 20 students attended the mass jam session. “I got to experience [a headphone disco] at one of our conferences we go to and it’s really fun. Everyone gets to listen to whatever station they choose,” Cortinas said. At the entrance of the event, each student was given their own set of headphones. These headphones had two buttons, one to control the volume and another to control the station they listened to. Each station, DJed by 88.1 the Burg, had a specific color that lit up the headphones. This way, other people can tell what station others are listening to. The ballroom was dark and had neon lights illuminating the room. The stage was occupied by a DJ that ran one of the stations available for students to listen to. Toward the back of the room was a table for the sound crew and a series of extra tables and chairs for students to take a break in between dancing their hearts out. “I think for students that are graduating and not coming back next year this is kind of a last hoorah for them,” Doonan said. “They really did not get to experience a lot of things in the last year and a half or so. I think it is nice to do something in person for them and celebrate the things they have accomplished throughout this last school year.”

CWU students set to improve Kittitas Elementary Playground By Joshua Smith Under the supervision of James Avery, associate professor of management, students are pursuing philanthropic opportunities with the intention of bettering their communities by improving the Kittitas Elementary playground. Kyle Young, a senior studying Business Administration-- graduating this spring-along with his classmates Shianne McFee, Brennan Gillner and Harrison Giles, have pooled their efforts into this project. “Using GoFundMe mainly as a prima-

ry source, [we] raised right under $600,” Young said. “We were aiming for around $2000, but what we got we can give them some small improvements.” These improvements include 6-pack sets of basketballs, footballs and soccer balls, four tether-ball sets, paint for touching up playground lines and four new nets for basketball hoops. Further improvements include filling in pot-holes and clipping trees and shrubs that have found their way onto the playground. “We’re excited with what we’re doing,” Young said.

However, Young said although the class helped give a sense of “improving the community,” the class is not without faults. Three months is too little time to make a substantial change and get adequate funding according to Young. Young said the program might improve if they just “make it a year long.” Young’s playground-project is not the only one coming out of the Leadership Management Capstone Class. One group worked with Friends In Service to Humanity (FISH) to plant vegeta-

bles, another group worked along the Yakima planting trees, and another raised money for foster-kids in Vietnam while also building a website and becoming pen-pals with the children. For those interested, a marketing video detailing all the students’ exploits will be released within a few weeks. Nonprofits and organizations that believe they may benefit from CWU student assistance are encouraged to reach out to Avery. “The hardest thing was figuring out what we wanted to do,” Young said.

June 2, 2021


Lindsay Peyton and Jerry Slough Master of Fine Arts Thesis during a national pandemic By Milenne Quinonez The CWU Sarah Spurgeon Gallery hosted “Reclaimed, a Master of Fine Arts,” a thesis exhibition by Lindsay Peyton and Jerry Slough, who presented alongside each other in a webinar artist talk. Throughout the webinar Peyton and Slough were able to talk about some of the work that inspired them, and their process while living through a pandemic. Peyton talked about some of the artist’s work that influenced some of her own and showed various art pieces. “What did resonate with me is, was the idea of using a hybrid medium to understand and survey the world as it was changing, “ Peyton said. Peyton talked about how she felt the world around her was changing a lot, such as climate change and the political climate, then her world changed even more when COVID-19 hit. As spring quarter ended and the summer before her final year of the art program, “That summer that I thought I would be able to sprint ahead and paint a lot to prepare for my thesis, I suddenly felt like this huge void, I didn’t know what to create or even how,” Peyton said about the summer before her final year of the art program.




Author Paisley Rekdal speaks to CWU students on Cultural Appropriation in Literature By Mariana Gonzalez

Lindsay Peyton, Perhaps it was the worst thing, to try to remake Houston ours, yours and mine (detail), 2021, Mixed media on canvas, 440 in. x 72 in. Peyton looked for help from her mentor and they suggested

Faux Autumn, 2020, Archival Pigment Print from Chromoskedasic Sabattier Silver Gelatin Print, 20 in. x 24 in.

that since she had experience working as a freelance writer Peyton should think about the past. That is when Peyton decided to pull out her old box of journals. “Eventually I developed a process and I started combining old journal entries that mentioned places and copying it repetitively on the large canvas through various means including tinted gesso, charcoal, pencil and acrylic paint,“ Peyton said. The journal entries from which she selects the excerpts all reflect on a sense of place. During the webinar, Slough demonstrated some pieces that also influenced his work. Slough selects ads that are targeted towards him on social media and transforms them. He reclaims the data to create his own new images through chemical photographic processes. All while the frequent data collection processes remain secret and hidden. Slough spoke about his process which was also affected by COVID-19. As he was stuck at home because he couldn’t go anywhere, he slowly became inspired by the things around him. “My work asks the viewer to examine how they are being targeted by technology companies and how their personal life and data has become a resource, shaping their lives and actions,” Slough said.

The rising issue of cultural appropriation was discussed over a Zoom webinar by author Paisley Rekdal. Rekdal was invited to speak by the English department in their Lion Rock Visiting Writers Series. During her craft talk, Rekdal presented a slideshow on cultural appropriation in literature and spoke on how aspiring writers should navigate this issue. Rekdal is a professor at the University of Utah. An award-winning memoirist and poet, Rekdal was named Utah’s Poet Laureate in 2017. Rekdal is the author of the book “The Night My Mother Met Bruce Lee.” Rekdal’s most recent book, “Appropriate: A Provocation,” which came out February 2021 discusses cultural appropriation in literature. Rekdal began her discussion by saying, “All of us are appropriating all the time, whether we think we are or not.” Rekdal then discussed the definition of appropriation and gave examples of works and writers that appropriated cultures. Such examples included pop artist Andy Warhol, musician Kanye West and poet Kenneth Goldsmith. Rekdal discussed more real-life examples of cultural appropriation such as Katy Perry’s performance of the song “Unconditionally” at the American Music Awards in 2013. Perry’s performance of the song included dressing as a geisha and using Japanese icons such as kimonos, Sakura flowers and oil-paper umbrellas. Rekdal analyzed works that had issues with cultural appropriation. The poem “How-To,” which had made its round recently in social media and divided people on whether or not it was acceptable was mentioned. According to Rekdal, the poem sends out the message “You’ll be successful in the streets if you can mirror back what the perceiver sees.” The author Andy Carlson, a middle-class white man, was accused of having no right to write this poem as he had no experience with the streets. The main dispute of the poem was who the speaker is. Another work discussed was the novel “American Dirt” by author Jeanine Cummins. The book follows a migrant mother and son as they try to make it to the U.S. Rekdal noted that Cummins tried to make the book accurate but still ended up with lots of inaccuracies. Rekdal warned against creating characters into statistics by putting them through “too much” like in Cummins’ novel. Rekdal touched briefly on Cummins’ advantage over Latino writers. Rekdal answered questions from the audience at the end of the webinar. Attendees asked questions such as, what steps can white writers take to continue to make space for Black, Indigenous and people of color writers, and advice for Professional and Creative Writing major students to get their work published. Rekdal ended the talk by speaking on the term “stay in your lane.” “Stay in your lane and only write what you know, but what you know is diversity,” Rekdal said. Students who would like to watch a recording of the craft talk can contact Maya Zeller for a copy of the recording.



June 2, 2021

Wildcats reflect on short season, look to next year By Jared Galanti After winning their first two games of the season the soccer team ended the season with a 2-3 record. While the season may have been cut short, the team is looking towards next year when it looks like there might be a full season to show what they can do. The women’s soccer team ended their quick five game season with a 3-1 loss at the hands of the Western Washington University Vikings on May 22. Senior forward Jayme Woodfill scored the lone goal with 2:17 remaining in the second half. Sophomore forward Peyton Vogel said the short season was difficult when it came to bonding the team together. “This short season honestly has been really rough because you only know your team so well,” Vogel said. “And how the short season is only six games, it’s really hard to connect and play together compared to when you have an entire season of 20 games.” Senior midfielder Sophia Keenan echoed the notion of how team bonding was difficult in such a short season. “It was difficult, but we took some time at practice and did some team bonding activities,” Keenan said. “We did this thing called highs and lows before and after practice to just kind of go over things that were going on in our life that were good and bad just to make sure we are keeping in touch with what we are doing outside of soccer. So that was to try and build those relationships besides being teammates.” Vogel said that during a regular season the team would try to have a bonding event once every quarter. However, this year they upped the amount of bonding events to three per quarter to try and make up for loss time. Vogel also said that a combination of some of the freshmen already stepping out

Photo courtesy of CWU athletics

Senior Jaymie Woodfill (#15) scored the only goal for the Wildcats as they fell to WWU 3-1 to end their season with a 2-3 record.

of their comfort zone and upperclassmen showing them the ropes led to them feeling more comfortable at CWU. “The freshmen were already out of their box which was kinda cool,” Vogel said. “A lot of sophomores took them under their wing to show them the ropes of CWU. It was really hard for them because they’re not on campus meeting more people so I think us as a team being their only outlet of meeting people is important.” Keenan said while she was impressed by the leadership on the team due to making through the shortened year, she admits there is still some growing to do because of the inexperience that the team will have next year.

“It says a lot and I think we have a lot of growing to do leadership wise because we are such a young team,” Keenan said. “There’s definitely going to be a lot of big roles for freshmen and sophomores to step into in the fall and I think it will be very telling as we get there.” Keenan said the excitement of just being able to play soccer after over a year off was the thing that motivated the team the most. “How we kept each other motivated was preparing ourselves for the fall, ‘’ Kennan said. “It’s been such a weird year but everyone is excited since it’s been a year and a half since all of us had touched a ball and played a game. I think the excitement of just playing and being there with

each other and being as a team was what really carried us throughout this spring and just being motivated and committed together as a team.” Keenan said that what motivates her as she approaches her final year of eligibility at CWU is she wants to end her collegiate career strong. “I just want to end my career at CWU as a soccer player on a very high note,” Keenan said. “Me and the rest of my class have worked so hard to get to this point and it was heartbreaking hearing the news about COVID taking our senior season and besides being upset it kind of ignited a fire out of me and I said I don’t want to go out this way.”

Athletics End of Year Celebration By Noah Wright The sports seasons are officially over for the teams here at CWU. With the end of playing comes the celebration for our school’s athletes. On May 27, the annual Welly Awards was held. Even though the event was much different than normal, and the athletes could not celebrate as they normally do, there were many highlights to the night, as well as a need for the awards to be held. “We started an end of the year recognition get together my first or second year,” said Dennis Francois, the director of Athletics. According to Francois, the Welly Awards was a creation made by associate director of athletics for external affairs Tyler Unsicker. “It is a way to get together to celebrate individuals and teams that had outstanding accomplishments throughout the year,” Francois said. As opposed to usual years, the Welly Awards was scaled back for 2021 according to Francois. “We usually have all the athletes and staff that we can attend the event,” Francois said. “It is a night where the student-athletes dress to the nines and we try to make it as fun as possible.” This year however, there was a 200-person capacity limit for the event, which made things feel a bit off according to Francois.

“After having the awards virtually last year, we were uncertain as to whether or not to have an in-person event,” Francois said. Francois said despite the initial uncertainty and lack of normality, there is still something to celebrate this year. “While we can’t truly celebrate the achievements of our athletic teams because this hasn’t been normal. I think it is important for us to try and get together to celebrate, if nothing else, getting through the year,” Francois said. With the lack of games and chances for athletes to interact with each other, Francois said the Welly Awards brings a sense of normality to what has been a struggling year. Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) President Spencer Boldt said something similar about the importance of the 2021 Welly Awards. “The Welly Awards may feel a bit less important to some people because of the lack of season that many people had,” Boldt said, “but having the opportunity to come together after being apart for so long is something that should be taken advantage of.” This advantage has not been an easy one to take, according to Boldt. “[The SAAC] had been working for about a month to get it in-person,” Boldt said. “We had to submit a proposal plan

for it to be in-person so that needed to be approved. And when it was approved we had to make plans for how to have students attend safely.” Boldt said they were originally hesitant because of the recent COVID-19 outbreak that happened, but they went along with the plans to hold the awards in-person. “We applied to get the space at McConnell because there were so many restrictions on space and distancing. Then, we prioritized seniors and award winners before letting in the rest of the student-athletes,” Boldt said. According to Boldt, the initial reservation amount was low compared to expectations. “I think that people were assuming that the awards were going to be virtual again, because we were so late with getting everything out,” Boldt said. “But leading up to the event we saw a good amount of people reserving spots.” Besides the new procedures, Francois said the 2021 Welly Awards saw a cut back in some of the usually important awards and the introduction of the new M-Brace award. “It didn’t feel appropriate to have service or excellence,” Francois said. “There were not a lot of opportunities for our athletes to serve the community and most of our teams weren’t competing at full capacity.” As for the M-Brace award, Francois said this award was a scholarship courtesy

of Steve Brace, for his father Martin. Hence the letter M. “This signifies our leadership award that goes to one of our teams who really embraced the role of being a great leader,” Francois said, “however, this award goes to four people and each of them were given a $2,500 scholarship.” One of the award winners was Junior soccer player, Bella Brown. Brown said, “it feels really amazing to win this award.” Brown said she felt honored to be part of the first group of people to win the award and she is really thankful to the Brace family. “I am also thankful for my team,” said Brown, “They are my biggest support system here at CWU. I wouldn’t be able to do anything without them.” Brown won alongside men’s rugby player Ivan Pula, women’s rugby player Lauren Odette and men’s basketball player Marqus Gilson. The four athletes were honored by quotes and speeches from their respective coaches, given by athletic faculty. The night of celebration was summed up by Boldt who said, “It is an excuse to celebrate your season and team, as well as come together as an athletic department. And for underclassmen it is a chance to experience what it is normally like without the pandemic.”

June 2, 2021



A near Cinderella Season concludes after duels against Western and Concordia By Gabriel Strasbaugh After a season that included wins, loses and cancelations, the Wildcats’ softball season concluded after a 9-2 loss to Concordia Irvine. The loss came just two days after sending the Vikings of Western Washington University (WWU) packing from Regionals. Junior and Ace pitcher Samantha Stanfield said beating WWU highlighted the Wildcats resilience throughout the season. “It was hey, we got nothing to lose right now,” Stanfield said. “Just go give it our all and it’s Western.” Stanfield noted her own success from the season culminated in her opportunities against the Vikings. “Sending them home [was] a big plus and I think the two wins at Western for me personally was just a big achievement,” Stanfield said. “I pitched very well, I hit my spots very well and having the defense like I did was great. When they got the hits, we were able to get them out.” Stanfield closed the door in the last two innings to secure a win in their first elimination game of the regional tournament. Senior third base, Maddy Zerr had her best performance of the season with three hits on four at bats posting two runs on the board. “It was emotional, that’s for sure,” Zerr said. “Honestly early on, they really embarrassed us and they killed us. It was nice to come back at the end of the year and just prove it doesn’t matter how you play at the beginning of the year; it’s how you play at the end of the year.” With the possibility of moving on or going home, emotions and tension rise in the postseason. Zerr said these games are decided within one or two decisions by the entire lineup. “On postseason, these games happen quite often,” Zerr said. “Everyone is so well matched and not as much in the regular season. In that postseason moment where you have two number one pitchers going at it, in those low scoring games, one base hit changes the

Photo courtesy of CWU athletics

Third baseman number 19 Maddy Zerr at bat, she’s batting at .345 this season. game, or one defensive play changes the game.” Head coach Alison Mitchell said this season showed development of chemistry with the players on the team. Both on and off the field, the team’s focus involved committing to avoiding any positive COVID-19 tests putting the season in jeopardy. “Never in my life have I had to be so involved in what happens in personal lives than this year,” Mitchell said. “The risk of the virus was so real, and you saw what happened to us. Our postseason was a five-week span where we played 11 games and three total practices, and we still did what we did.” Questions surrounded the team with the possibility the games could be cancelled in an instant. The culture of the locker room gets left up to

the mindset of her players according to Mitchell. “This was a very weird year for players and everyone and it was a true test of your team chemistry,” Mitchell said. “Along with a culture of, are you really going to buy in and put the team first? Or are you that person that sits with that mindset of yeah, but.” For the players, Mitchell said, the moments are what they play for and what they remember once their career is all said and done. “Old sport adages like, you aren’t gonna remember all the games you played or the at bats you had or the pitches you threw,” Mitchell said, “but you’re gonna remember the feelings you felt. The times you spent with your teammates remembering the road trips being on a 13-hour bus ride to Billings and all the stuff we did. You’re gonna

remember getting picked for regionals and having 48 hours for us to turn around, fly out and feeling like it was absolutely chaos.” Some moments, home and away, like the trip to Billings stood out to Mitchell. “You’ll remember when I sent you to the beach because we had an off day because it was a weird regional,” Mitchell said. “It’s about, do you want to be a part of something bigger than yourself and have a shared experience with these common bonds most people don’t get to experience?” For seven seniors, memories are all that is left of being part of the Wildcat softball team. Memories of a team that came together with what Zerr said to be a “25% chance of making the tournament,” to one game away from a national’s appearance.

Mitch Brizee: CWU’s newest men’s basketball player By Simon Lafita The CWU men’s basketball team has signed Mitch Brizee to the roster. Brizee, a 6-foot-9-inch center from Weber State University, showed an impressive high school basketball career. During his tenure at Twins Fall High School in Idaho he averaged 16.7 points and seven rebounds per game. He and the team also earned several awards: conference MVP honors in 2019, Great Basin Co-Player of the year, Times News Player of the Year, two-time first team all conference selection and first team all-state honors. Brandon Rinta, the head coach of the CWU men’s basketball team, has been following Brizee’s basketball journey since his high school career. He said he noticed Brizee’s hard work and improvement in skills and tried to recruit him straight out of high school. However, the second time around, Brizee accepted CWU’s proposal.

“He spent a couple years at Weber State [a Division I school] and from the sounds and looks of it he continued that upward progression. Continuing to improve in multiple areas,” Rinta said. With Brizee gaining some experience at a Division I school, the CWU men’s basketball coaches said they see potential in him as an athlete. They plan to utilize him for what he’s best at, being a player in the post. However, they’re not disregarding his talent outside the paint. “Mitch will be one of our best interior scorers,” said Drew Church, assistant men’s basketball coach. “His outside game is still developing, but he’s comfortable with the ball. If he can consistently score inside and out he’ll be a threat anywhere on the court.” Both Church and Rinta are excited about Brizee joining the team because he’ll allow for more opportunities. They both agree that when he’s on the

Photo courtesy of CWU athletics

court his presence as a big man will increase their offensive pressure. “Brizee will be a great fit for Cen-

tral. I think he’ll compliment our roster and because of his ability as a player,” Rinta said.


June 2, 2021


PULSE magazine presents a Q&A with

COOL CAT: Emily Messall Interview by Laynie Erickson | Photo by Zahn Schultz | Design by Itzel Montoya

CWU alumna Emily Messall turned a junior year school project into a fullfledged career. Messall served as the former associate editor of PULSE magazine during her time as a student at CWU and found her current employer through a class assignment. The project was to seek out contacts in the field that she might be interested in pursuing. Focusing on the passion she had for literary magazines, Messall reached out to her current employer, Barren Magazine, and the rest is history. Here’s why you should know this Cool Cat.

could you talk about your experience at cwu and how you ended up at barren magazine? I joined PULSE my senior year and I had a project for one of my classes junior year, where we kind of had to get our way into what we wanted to do as a career. And so, I was kind of looking at literary magazines that I liked and I was like okay, well I have to do it for a project, so I’ll just send someone in Barren an email. She ended up emailing me back and being like, hey, we have a position for, what was then like a reader where we just kind of read the submissions and give our thoughts on them. Then from there, I kind of upgraded … in that my title now is a contributing editor. So I basically do the same reading. It’s just more discussion focused now. I feel like I’m a little bit more part of the team now ... I read stories and I put comments on them.

what is your favorite part about working at barren? My favorite part about working for Baron is definitely getting to find the new authors that you wouldn’t really find in a bookstore. We do short fiction, flash fiction, poetry and then short nonfiction and flash nonfiction. It’s just really cool getting to find those indie writers that you wouldn’t really find in a mainstream bookstore.

What did pulse teach you? Oh my god, PULSE taught me so much! It definitely taught me how to work with other people, more than I had before I guess, and also kind of taught me a little bit more about leadership. As an associate editor, you kind of have your assigned writers and stuff and they come to you with questions and you kind of have to help them find their way along, which is something I never really had practice doing before. I was always the person being helped along, so it was cool to get that leadership, and then also the really valuable things like interview skills and written communication is also super important so yeah I’m glad I got those skills.

What is your favorite childhood memory?

what are your personal goals? At Barren, it’s a volunteer position so I don’t get paid for it. So I definitely want to get a paid position as an editor, whether it be at a magazine, or a publishing house for books, that’s definitely my biggest long term goal.

What are three fun facts about you? Let’s see, I am allergic to cantaloupe, that’s a weird one. I’ve never broken any bones, I guess. And I used to be a writing tutor.

I would probably have to say, so I grew up [and] my family and I were into horses. My great grandma had this property down by the beach in this town called Westport. Definitely riding horses on the beach, when I was probably like seven or eight, is probably like one of my favorite things.

what is a quote you live by?

what are some of your hobbies?

where can we find you hanging out?

I really like to cross stitch, which I know is like an old-lady hobby but that’s fun. Painting, reading, writing and then just kind of like playing video games and hiking.

Definitely anywhere there’s caffeine. When I was at Central I was always in Jimmy B’s. Now that I’m in Wyoming, I work at a coffee shop called Blue Ridge.

Let me scroll through my Pinterest real quick… Oh actually, you know what, I have a tattoo! It’s a sunflower and it says “be the sunshine” and the full quote is “when you can’t find the sunshine, be the sunshine.”


02 WED

4-5 p.m. Internships 101*

06 SUN



7-9 p.m. Trivia Wednesday SURC Ballroom Rm 215A, *

National Cancer Survivors Day


07 MON

CWU Observer

6-7 p.m. International Cafe* 7-9 p.m. Geek Out, Game Out - SURC Rooms 137A, 137B, Pit (100C), * 8-10 p.m. The Art of Global Protest Series: Three Fingers Raised in Protest: Myanmar’s Spring Revolution, 2021* Dead Day (Study day for finals) 8-10 p.m. Monday Movie Madness: Toy Story 4 - Recreation Sports Complex, *


*Virtual Location for Online Events

04 FRI

Spring Quarter Classes End


Spring Quarter Finals Begin

1-4:30 p.m. Calling In the Call Out Culture Online Lecture* 1-3 p.m. ESC End of Year Recognition - Black Hall 105-01 DEC

05 SAT

12:30-3:30 p.m. COM Department Graduation Celebration - SURC Theatre Rm 210

09 WED

National Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie Day