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Volume 148, Issue 1

The western Front


Labor union likens Ebenal to rats Demonstration intended to warn Western against non-union contractor Andrea Davis-Gonzalez THE WESTERN FRONT Thirty labor union members and two 15-foot, inflatable rats waved at passing traffic in front of the construction site of the Buchanan Towers expansion Wednesday morning as part of a public demonstration. From 8 a.m. to noon, Laborers’ International Union of North America Local 276 members handed out flyers alleging that Ebenal General Construction Co.—the contractor Western hired for the expansion of Buchanan Towers—had poor business practices and lawsuits filed against them within the past eight years. Bob Flansaas, a union member who organized the event, said Ebenal has failed to adequately pay its workers, which has resulted in at least 37 lawsuits against the company since 2001. “We don’t like our court system being clogged up with court cases like these for contractors who don’t pay their subcontractors in full,” Flansaas said. Flansaas said the mission of the event was to increase public awareness about the company. He said he hopes Western takes a closer look at the company it hired for its construction project. The public should be aware that student tuition and taxpayer money are funding a company that fails to compensate its workers, said Marvin McWilliams, a member of the union. “These are tax dollars lining Ebenal’s pockets,” Flansaas said. see RATS page 5

New residents receive HELP at move-in Lindsey Otta THE WESTERN FRONT

photo by Skyler Wilder THE WESTERN FRONT

Juan Galindo, a member of Laborer's International Union of North America Local 276, controls the waving arm of a 15-foot inflatable rat Wednesday morning during the union's demonstration against Ebenal Construction.

Cars lined the streets around Western’s residence halls last weekend as new and returning students waited anxiously to move into their college homes. Minifridges, laundry baskets and storage containers were not in short supply as an estimated 3,800 students checked in to their rooms. A group of 330 “HELPs,” wearing light blue t-shits that read, “I can help you. [heart] WWU,” were on hand to unload and help organize the chaos. The program assistant for University Residences, Nicholai Fomin said each HELP moved in more than 10 peoples’ worth of boxes, refrigerators, TVs and clothes. “When you think about the fact that more and more students are bringing two or three cars worth of belongings, it becomes pretty daunting,” he said. “Luckily our HELPs have a great attitude and willingness to get the job done.” Even Western President Bruce Shepard could be seen helping new students move into their Ridgeway residence halls Sunday morning. “When people move in, I tell them I’m the president of Western, and they don’t believe me,” Shepard said. “They say, ‘No you’re not!’” Shepard said he felt it was important to make a good first impression and meet incoming students. He said he was imsee HELP page 3

BT construction limits resident access Katherine Garvey THE WESTERN FRONT Construction on a five-story addition to Buchanan Towers led to modified move-in procedures for students and staff this past weekend as well as the unavailability of some facilities in the residence hall. Despite the loss of the parking lot at Buchanan Towers to the construction crews, Martin Reed, associate director of facilities at Western’s University Residences, said he thought check-in went smoothly. A temporary driveway, which accommodated five to six cars at a time, allowed students to unload their belongings despite the construction. University Residences used South

College Way and the Sehome High School parking lot as staging areas for cars. University Police closed South College Way so residents were able to use that space to unload as well, Reed said.

“[Western] actually contacted us last year and said that there would be no parking there at Buchanan Towers. We’re more than happy to sell parking passes to Western students.” Cathy Moran, Associated Student Body at Sehome High School “There were lots of people out to help move stuff in,” said Jake Bohn, a fresh-

man living in Buchanan Towers. “It was pretty organized and easy to do.” The addition, called Buchanan Towers East, constitutes the first major construction on a student residence since the 1994 renovation of Edens Hall, Director of University Residences Willy Hart said. The addition will add more than 100 beds, a dining area and increased bike storage to Buchanan Towers. While plans for the addition have been in the works for years, Reed said actual construction began nine months after University Residences was forced to give students temporary housing at the GuestHouse Inn on Lakeway Drive in order to accommodate the additional residents when residence halls filled up fall. Reed said construction will continue throughout the academic year and into

photo by Max Wilbert THE WESTERN FRONT

Signs warn against entering the area formerly used as parking for Buchanan Towers. Residents must now park at Sehome High School.

summer with a slated completion date of Aug. 16, 2010. Students will have to deal with construction noise throughout the week at see ACCESS page 3




See more online at Friday • September 25, 2009 | The Western Front

Cops Box University Police Sept. 22 • Officers performed a security check for people reportedly climbing on a statue on south campus. Sept. 23 • Officers responded to a report of approximately five people using belts tied between trees as tightropes on south campus. The subjects were asked to remove the belts to prevent damage to the trees. Bellingham Police

photo by Nicholas Johnson THE WESTERN FRONT

Western sophomores Alex Paja (left) and Eleanor Siler rest against a pillow cushion Paja commonly carries to outdoor events. Paja and Siler were two of many Western students who congregated on the Communication Facility lawn Thursday evening to view a showing of Star Trek.

TEST YOUR WESTERN WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY KNOWLEDGE Which is closest to the total enrollment during Western's first year? A. 50 C. 200 B. 150 D. 250


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(360) 650-3162

Editor-in-chief ............................................................ Rebecca Rice, Managing editor ..................................... Audrey Dubois-Boutet, News editor .......................................................... Nicholas Johnson, News editor ............................................................. Kipp Robertson, Arts & Life editor ................................................ Chris Collison, Arts & Life editor ......................................... Elizabeth Olmsted, Sports editor ............................................................. Kevin Minnick, Opinion editor ....................................................... Tristan Hiegler, Photo editor ............................................................... Skyler Wilder, Online editor .............................................................. Alex Roberts, Copy editor .................................................................... Julia Means, Copy editor ............................................................. Jeremy Schwartz, Faculty adviser ........................................................................... John Harris,


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Advertising manager.....................................................Michele Anderson Business manager........................................................Alethea Macomber The Western Front is published twice weekly in the fall, winter, and spring quarters and once a week in the summer session. The Western Front is the official newspaper of Western Washington University, published by the Student Publications Council and is mainly supported by advertising. Opinions and stories in the newspaper have no connection with advertising. News content is determined by student editors. Staff reporters are involved in a course in the department of journalism, but any student enrolled at Western may offer stories to the editors. Members of the Western community are entitled to a single free copy of each issue of the Western Front.

Sept. 22 • Police arrested a 48-yearold man on suspicion of shoplifting beer from a Rite Aid on the 3200 Block of Northwest Ave. Sept. 23 • Police responded to a report that a man, who allowed several people he did not know well to stay at his apartment, woke up to find his shoes missing. The man reportedly said the people were associated with a downtown street gang known as Insane Clown Posse. Cops Box compiled by Emily Linroth

NEWS | | Friday • September 25, 2009


ACCESS: Resident parking displaced to Sehome High School from 1 Buchanan Towers, but Hart said they tend to be understanding. Similarly, during the 1994 renovation of Edens, Edens North remained open. “We’ve done a number of projects over the years in close proximity,” Hart said. “There’s been the occasional issue, but nothing systemic.” During the construction, the parking lot at Buchanan Towers will remain closed. The installation of a sprinkler system beginning in spring quarter will close the south—formerly east—wing of Buchanan Towers. Students have the opportunity to buy parking permits for $40 a quarter from nearby Sehome High School. Sehome began selling Western students passes for extra spaces at the high school’s lot when the university ran out of parking for students a few years ago, said Cathy Moran from the Associated Student Body business office at Sehome High School. The school has 60 spaces to offer Western students, she said. “[Western] actually contacted us last year and said that there would be no parking there at Buchanan Towers,” Moran said. “We’re more than happy to sell parking passes to Western students.” Once construction is completed, the reduced parking lot at Buchanan Towers will have approximately 35 spaces, Reed said. Fairhaven’s Outback farm abuts Buchanan Towers’ parking lot to the north. “We didn’t want to infringe on the Outback with additional parking and so we wanted to respect the lines where they were working,” Hart said. While the new building will increase the amount of bike storage at Buchanan Towers, bike parking is also limited until residence facilities can find more space, Reed said.

photo by Max Wilbert THE WESTERN FRONT

Bicycle parking space is greatly diminished around Buchanan Towers as a result of the construction.

In addition, students will notice changes to Buchanan Towers’ interior layout due to the construction. Contractors took out approximately 300 square feet of the residence’s firstfloor lounge for construction, Hart said.

“We always value student input [and] student feedback because we know that the students make Western what it is. They’re our customers, our clients.” Martin Reed, Associate Director of Facilities for University Residences To make up for that missing lounge, residence facilities converted the fitness center on the third floor into a common area, Reed said. Construction also removed the BT Market, which was located in the firstfloor lounge.

“That doesn’t bother me, really,” Bohn said. “We have a kitchen area and the [Wade King Student Recreation Center] is right up there.” Residents will also face the shutdown of utilities such as water and electricity at some points during construction, but University Residences will try to minimize the inconveniences as much as possible, Reed said. Students may face inconveniences now, but when it is completed, Buchanan Towers East will reflect students’ input about what they would like to see most in the new building, he said. “That’s always a very important part of the process for the department…to really talk to the students, listen to what their concerns are, what their needs are, what they want and hopefully build something that will make their experience at Western a very positive experience,” he said. “We always value student input [and] student feedback because we know that the students make Western what it is. They’re

our customers, our clients.” This input includes a need for more study space and common areas as well as a café, Reed said. In addition, the new building will support sustainable living through features such as a rain garden and an educational program for students. “We’re going to try and blend traditional respect for the land and modern notions of sustainability and see if there’s a way we can develop a community program that the students would embrace,” Hart said. The addition should meet the silver standards of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), he said. According to the U.S. Green Building Council Web site, LEED certification levels are based on a point system that takes into account categories such as water efficiency and indoor environmental quality in the building. The highest a building can be rated is platinum, followed by gold and silver. Below the silver rating is a standard certification. The recreaction center already has silver LEED certification. Western applied for silver certification for the Academic Instructional Center and expects to receive it, Director of Facilities Management Tim Wynn said. When Buchanan Towers East opens, University Residences will give priority to the residents who lived in the original building and those who were forced to move out due to the sprinkler construction in spring. Once that demand is met, other students may request housing there. Despite being a new building, Hart said he does not expect there to be an overwhelming amount of requests for housing there for the first year. “Sometimes it takes a year or two for a building to take hold,” he said. “People kind of get into these geographic zones and that’s where their lives are­—it’s a small-neighborhood kind of a feel.”

HELP: President Shepard lends a hand to new student residents from 1 pressed with how well organized the moving process was. Western sophomore Carmen Bush was a HELPer stationed outside Nash

photo by Max Wilbert THE WESTERN FRONT

President Shepard wears a HELP t-shirt in an effort to blend in with other volunteers.

Hall last Sunday morning directing traffic. Bush said it usually took approximately 10 minutes to unload a car and carry everything to the elevators or to the student’s room. She also said each car was allowed to park for 20 minutes before they had to park elsewhere. Stickers for move-in weekend were placed on each car window with the time of arrival and residence hall name to allow enough time to unload in designated areas. Bush said the main problem with the Ridgeway residence halls is there is one street in, and not many easy ways out. “Beta and Gamma are the hardest to move into,” she said. “You have to time everything.” As car lines grew longer and longer throughout the day, some students would check in to their residence halls while their family members waited in the car. “It’s about a five-minute process and a lot of work,” said Becca Taber, a sophomore at Western who is a desk attendant for Mathes Hall. Students have to sign in, get their key and laundry card, as well as any bed parts they might want, she said. Students could sign up for early arrival options and move in as soon as Sept. 18 for a fee of $22.49 per night. Western freshman Anna Shives said

she opted to sign up for early arrival and said it took about five minutes with HELP to move everything into her room. The main reason she decided for early move-in was to avoid the rush. The hardest part of moving in for Western freshman Christine Gibson was not having much space and remembering to pack everything.

“I packed really last minute,” she said. “I just brought the essentials because I was not sure how much space there was.” Gibson said the stress of moving in did not bother her and she thought it was funny to see what people brought with them. Gibson also said it took her most of the day to unpack, but noted that there were still people unpacking on Monday.

photo by Max Wilbert THE WESTERN FRONT

President Shepard carries a minifridge Sunday as new students move in to residence halls on the ridge.

4 | NEWS

Friday • September 25, 2009 | The Western Front

WSA sets up at Western's Info Fair Kathleen Marriott THE WESTERN FRONT Washington Student Association Executive Director Mike Bogatay visited Western's Info Fair Monday and Tuesday in an effort to promote civic engagement within the student body. Bogatay was initially invited by Morgan Holmgren, Associated Students Vice President for Legislative Affairs. The Western Front sat down with Bogatay to discuss his goals for furthering civic engagement at the state's institutions of higher education. Western Front (WF): Why do you feel it is important that you be a part of Western’s Info Fair? Mike Bogatay (MB): I think the WSA and our goal right now is to become more of a grassroots organization, and [with] grassroots, obviously you need to have students involved. So this is all about getting every student, or everyday students, involved, not just those in student government involved with our organization.” WF: Will you be visiting any other state schools? If so, which ones? MB: I plan on doing visits with all of our memberships in the first couple months of school. Which will be all the main four-year universities, WC Vancouver, [University of Washington] Tacoma and Bellevue College. So I’ll be all around the state from eastern to central to western. So the next couple of months I’m going to be on the road quite a bit. Currently we have 11 members.” WF: How do you feel Western can improve civic engagement on its campus? MB: I think Western has done a pretty good job over

the years of maintaining a presence of [the Washington Student Lobby], which is completely student run [and] student led on campus; we don’t have any staff here on campus. So there has been some level of student involvement. I think that creating a broader—not so studentgovernment-centric—chapter of [the Washington Student Association] that includes more everyday students, not just those involved in student government. WF: What issues currently stand out as most pressing for state schools such as Western? MB: I would say there’s two things that are completely related and they really go hand in hand, and that’s the state's commitment to fund higher education and the students cost of tuition. Without state funding students are going to have to pay more. Right now, the state is trying to determine what sort of tuition structure it should be. And we just hit a landmark here where the state universities now receive more money from the student tuition dollars than they do from the state general fund, which is a huge change from just 15 to 20 years ago being predominately state funded with the tuition picking up what the state didn’t fund. Now, being majority student funded is a real shift, and if we want to call it a public education system, is it public supported or is it actually public? WF: With the state higher education budget already established, what can students and faculty do to avoid such tremendous cuts in the next biennium? MB: The state has directed the Higher Education Coordinating Board, which is the statewide body of higher education. And they asked the coordinating board to develop a tuition policy because the state doesn’t have a policy for tuitions. Basically they divide up the funds for the year and say, "Well, how much do we have left over?

photos by Nicholas Johnson THE WESTERN FRONT

WSA Executive Director Mike Bogatay sits at his booth Monday.

How much do we need tuition to cover?" And, that’s how much tuition is going to cover. Okay, tuition is going to be a certain percentage of the cost of instruction. It’s whatever money the state needs, whatever gap the state needs to fill, they use tuition to do it. It’s a real bad situation for students right now because we’re stuck in this cycle.

NEWS | | Friday • September 25, 2009


VRI to buy biofuel engines for Bellair Jeremy Smith THE WESTERN FRONT For the last year, Bellingham’s Bellair Charters has been working with Western’s Vehicle Research Institute (VRI) for the VRI's Biomethane for Transportation project. The VRI is planning on purchasing three new engines for buses that they will convert for Bellair that run on biomethane—a fuel made from cow manure. Funding for the engines came from a Department of Energy grant to the VRI totaling $500,000. The grant was a portion of the $15 million grant given to the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency. The VRI and Bellair Charters are hoping to complete the engine conversions in time for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics in February. The biomethane is created using dairy cow manure that is put through a machine called an anaerobic digester, which sorts out the solids from the gas in the manure. The gases are then run through a machine called a “scrubber,” which removes contaminants to make it clean and ready for use in a combustion engine. The Biomethane for Transportation project is an ongoing effort by the VRI to use the manure of dairy cows to power automobile engines. The biomethane for the project is coming from the Vander Haak Dairy in Lynden. “They have the first anaerobic digester in the state,” said Western professor Eric Leonhardt, VRI director of the Biomethane for Transportation project. “Biogas from manure is produced at the dairy

and sold to Puget Sound Energy. We’re just trying to upgrade the gas.” As an environmentally friendly fuel, biomethane has positives and negatives. Leonhardt said the buses running on biomethane still release carbon dioxide emissions, but would release nearly 23 times less carbon dioxide, a dramatic drop in emissions. Due to their low emission levels and the removal of contaminants, he

vironmentally friendly fuels. Liquid fuels are dangerous because of their easy combustion; gas fuels, such as biomethane, require a specific environment for them to become combustible and are therefore a safer alternative fuel. By creating biomethane from the manure, farmers also help protect the environment. Normally, cow manure is washed into a man-made lagoon near the

photo by Hailey Tucker THE WESTERN FRONT

One of the biomethane engines built by the Vehicle Research Institute at Western.

referred to the buses as running “carbonnegative.” VRI staff researcher Ben Vos said biomethane is a far superior fuel that is cleaner, cheaper and safer than other en-

farms where the chemicals can enter the air, soil and water, polluting them and creating the stench associated with cow manure. “We were interested right off the bat,”

said Joel Litwin of Bellair Charters. “Eric had a great idea. We are always looking for ways to be ‘green.’” Litwin said Bellair Charters wants to be an example. Bellair has tried running their buses on biodiesel in the past, however they had engine troubles. Western senior Calum Clark said the project sounds like a worthy cause. “As long as it’s cost effective and reduces the environmental impact of excess animal waste to produce clean energy, it sounds like a good idea to me,” Clark said. Leonhardt said the project would not end with Bellair Charters. The next phase after the engines are completed for Bellair will be talking to the Whatcom Transit Authority and the public utility district for Whatcom County about use of biomethane in county buses. He said he believes the total cost could be as high as $10 million to reach the point where biomethane could be used throughout the county. The money would go toward purchasing anaerobic digesters and easing transportation of biomethane by constructing a pipeline from the Vander Haak dairy farm for large-scale use around the county. The adaptation of biomethane in buses around Whatcom County could come as a great resource to the county’s economy with so many dairy farms present, according to Leonhardt’s research. However, it will take years before there is enough money to convert all of the buses in the county to biomethane in a way that is cost effective for the dairy farms.

RATS: Union claims 37 lawsuits filed; Ebenal calls claim harassment from 1 Flansaas said aside from gathering at Western, union members have previously assembled at Ebenal construction sites, including the Bellingham waterfront. David Ebenal, who owns Ebenal, said the union does not have a legitimate argument, and that it has been protesting against his company for the past two years. “All they’re trying to do is hassle me into a labor union contract,” Ebenal said. “It’s harassment.” Ebenal said signing his company to a labor union contract would make him less competitive as a general contractor because he would have to hire only

labor union subcontractors. The union subcontractors are expensive to hire and are sometimes difficult to find, which can slow down productivity, he said. Ebenal said belonging to a union would be expensive for his company and his employees. He said the lawsuits the unions cited did not exist and that the union fabricated the claims of lawsuits. However, Flansaas provided The Western Front with a collection of court documents gathered from Whatcom, Skagit, Snohomish and King County Superior Court records regarding civil lawsuits against Ebenal. The majority of the lawsuits are for Ebenal’s failure to pay their subcontractors in full and breach of contract, accord-

ing to the court documents. A recent lawsuit against Ebenal in Whatcom County Superior Court in the collection Flansaas provided was filed May 2009. The Ferndale School Board hired Ebenal to construct Cascadia Elementary School, so Ebenal hired subcontractor J&S Services Inc., according to court documents. Because the subcontracts were not paid the full amount Ebenal agreed to pay them, J&S Services sued Ebenal for breach of contract. Western must go through a bidding process to hire contractors for any construction, said Steve Swan, vice president for University Relations. “Contracts for building projects throughout the state of Washington are

selected through a vigorous state bidding process to ensure the most efficient use of funds,” Swan said. Once Western puts together the details for the construction project, it sends the information to different contractors, Swan said. The contractors place their bid, which means they provide a statement of their charge to do the job, he said. Ebenal had the lowest bid, and Western usually selects the contractor company with the lowest responsible bidder while following state regulations. According to the Ebenal Web site, Western previously hired the construction company for a Birnam Wood Apartments project in 2005 and an Arntzen Hall project in 2006.

6 | NEWS

Friday • September 25, 2009 | The Western Front

Students, faculty strengthen ties in Kenya Preparations for international study program progress toward student involvement next summer Andrea Davis-Gonzalez THE WESTERN FRONT Western students, faculty and staff returned from a three-week trip to Kenya this summer in preparation for an international service-learning program, which they have been developing for students that will take place in Kenya summer 2010. Students will not only be able to learn about the country and its culture, but they will also be able to lend a helping hand to students like themselves in a region with the highest rate of AIDS in Kenya, said Tim Costello, director of the Center of Service Learning and founder of Slum Doctor Programme. “I look forward to being able to offer this opportunity to more students, so that we can create more young leaders and better citizens of the world,” Costello said. The students involved in the program will work with Ombogo Girls’ Academy, a boarding school for girls between the ages of 15 and 18, created to address the lack of education opportunities in Homa Bay, Kenya. Students who go on the trip next year will be able to collaborate with the

photo courtesy of Kathryn Bachen

Maureen Okundi, left, the director of Ombogo Girls' Academy, walks with Western professor Marie Eaton, right. Okundi's late mother founded the Academy.

academy and the community by providing service work for them, said Marie Eaton, a Fairhaven professor who went on the most recent trip to Kenya involved with the program. The goal of the program is to develop a long-term relationship with the academy and surrounding community agencies, Eaton said. Western is partnering with Bellingham’s Slum Doctor Programme, a nonprofit grassroots organization to help people in Africa who have been affected by AIDS. The academy has been selected as the site of study because of the pre-existing relationship with the Slum Doctor Programme, Eaton said. By partnering together, Western can provide faculty, staff and student expertise needed for research, Costello said. In return, the Slum Doctor Programme provides Western the opportunity to teach, learn and conduct research in a developing country, Costello said. The partnership between Western, the Slum Doctor Programme, and Ombogo can help improve the education of the girls at the academy as well as Western students, Costello said. During their recent summer visit to Kenya, Western students, faculty and staff interviewed academy students and faculty to determine the school’s needs, Eaton said. One of the needs identified at the school was a reliable energy source, resulting in a reduction in power outages it had been experiencing, she said. The program was started in summer 2007, but students were able to accompany faculty and staff to Kenya for the first time summer 2009. A group of two Western students, a Western alumnus and a Slum Doctor Programme supporter went with the group. Western alumnus Douglas Herrin said he enjoyed meeting the girls at Ombogo and learning about the Kenyan culture. “What’s most important to me is building relationships and bringing them back home [to the U.S.],” Herrin said. “It doesn’t end in Kenya.” Herrin said if he had the funding to return to Kenya next summer, he would take the opportunity and continue to collaborate with the girls at Ombogo. Herrin said he interviewed a group of 10 Ombogo girls about health issues in their communities to assess health care needs for his research.

photo courtesy of Kathryn Bachen

Students from the Ombogo Girls' Academy show Heather Handerson of Bend, Ore. and Western student Julie Lynch, both center, the plants they tend as part of their agriculture class on July 22.

One way students can accommodate the needs of the students is through enterprise projects, which will teach the girls at the academy to earn income for their school, said Western management professor Kristi Tyran. When Western students travel to Kenya next summer, the students at Ombogo Academy will be able to work with artisans to learn to make crafts and how to create their own businesses, Tyran said.

“One of the richest experiences you can have is learning about another culture.” Tim Costello, Director of the Center of Service Learning Another way students can help the academy is by marketing the school to surrounding areas, Costello said. Costello said he hopes students can learn to broaden their perspectives on living in the United States. “One of the richest experiences you can have is learning about another culture,” Costello said. “By experiencing and learning about another culture, you learn more about your own culture.” Faculty and staff anticipate having 10 to 12 students for the trip next summer,

but they have not yet determined which faculty and staff will go on the trip, Eaton said. Currently, faculty and staff are planning housing arrangements for students, researching current issues for potential service projects and planning the details for a prerequisite class for students to take in the spring. Once approved, the class will teach students about how to accommodate the needs of the academy and the country’s political history and culture, Eaton said. Learning information firsthand instead of in a classroom can be a unique learning experience for students, Eaton said. “Traveling outside your comfort zone makes you re-evaluate how things work in the world,” Eaton said. “Not everyone lives the way you do (and experiencing that) changes you.” One person’s actions in one part of the world can affect someone in a different part of the globe, and many Americans do not realize that, Eaton said. “We’re not just citizens of the United States anymore, we can’t be,” Eaton said. “We’re also global citizens. Everything I do in my life impacts other people.” Making a small effort in the world gives everyone hope of making a big difference in the world, regardless of how large the issue may seem, Eaton said.

NEWS | | Friday • September 25, 2009


Storytelling to support fly-fishing school Rod Lotter THE WESTERN FRONT Acclaimed Pacific Northwest authors Sherman Alexie and David James Duncan will visit Western’s Performing Arts Center for “Salmon Worship: What’s wrong with it?” on Sept. 25 for an evening of storytelling, with music by Jeffrey Foucault. The show is a benefit for the Liam Wood Flyfishing and River Guardian School. Duncan said the two authors will praise the mighty salmon and the waters the fish call home in honor of Wood and the school—both of which share the same love and admiration for nature as the authors. On June 10, 1999, 18-year-old flyfishing enthusiast Liam Wood hiked down to his favorite spot on Whatcom Creek to fish for trout. Upstream, a pipeline burst and leaked 237,000 gallons of gasoline into the creek. Wood was overwhelmed by the fumes, passed out and drowned. Ten years later, Wood may be gone, but his love of nature and fishing still lives on at the school. The event will take place at 7 p.m. on Sept. 25, and is $10 for students and $15 for general admission. “A Pacific Northwest without wild salmon might as well be Crawford, Texas,” Duncan wrote in a statement for the event. “So, on September 25, we’re going to preserve the Northwest’s Northwest and keep Crawford in Crawford.” Duncan lives in Montana and is an

photo by Max Wilbert THE WESTERN FRONT

avid fisherman. He is best known for two best-selling novels—“The Brothers K” and “The River Why”—both of which involve fly-fishing. Alexie wrote the screenplay for the cult film “Smoke Signals,” and his most recent novel, “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” was a Whatcom READS! selection in 2007 and won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. Lindsay Taylor is a volunteer at the Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association and helped coordinate the event. “I hope people become inspired to go outside and enjoy the beautiful streams and the fish around us,” Taylor said. “I hope they get in touch with their inner salmon and become stewards of their streams.” The association is a nonprofit organization and a co-sponsor of the event.

Taylor said the money raised from the event will go toward the school’s youth programs, which introduces conservationism and teaches responsibility for the local waters they in which they fish. The idea for the school began when Duncan was in Bellingham for a book reading. He said he had been toying with the idea of creating a fly-fishing school for years when he learned about Wood, who was an aspiring writer himself. Wood kept a copy of “The River Why” next to his bed, said Western environmental science professor Leo Bodensteiner, who teaches a fly-fishing class at Western as part of the Liam Wood School. Wood’s parents, Marlene Robinson and Bruce Brabec, were looking to spend the money they received from their son’s wrongful death settlement on something he would have wanted.

After hearing Duncan’s idea, they decided the school was the perfect way to preserve their son’s memory, Taylor said. With help from Western’s biology department, Huxley College of the Environment, the Nooksack association and other community groups, Duncan got the school up and running in 2001. Bodensteiner taught the first fly-fishing class as part of the school in 2004 at Western and continues to teach it every summer. When approached to teach the class, Bodensteiner said he was attracted to the experience and the enthusiasm of the people involved was contagious. “The class appealed to me on various levels,” Bodensteiner said. “The interdisciplinary aspect of the class appealed on an academic level. On a personal level I love to fish. It is my passion.” Taylor was one of the Bodensteiner’s first students in The Art, Science and Ethics of Fly-Fishing course. She said the class inspired her to protect the waters and got her interested in the work she now does with the association. The class uses fly-fishing as a way to teach students about stream ecology and conservation issues concerning the Pacific Northwest, Bodensteiner said. “Fly-fishing is an interesting way to approach ecology and conservation because, as a fisher, you are entering an environment as a predator,” Bodensteiner said. “You become part of the food chain and to keep fish you want around you must learn to protect the environment.”

ARTs &

8 | Friday • September 25, 2009 | The Western Front

Dietitian: How to dodge the Fresh

Jill Kelly steers students toward healthy alternative foo Jenna Mohrweis THE WESTERN FRONT To stay healthy this academic year, Western dietitian Jill Kelly encourages students with concerns about nutrition to stay hydrated, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, and make sure to "eat the rainbow," by eating a wide variety of nutritious foods. For some students, such as Western freshman Becky Schuermeyer, a big concern about college is gaining weight—the Freshman 15. Schuermeyer said she is hoping to schedule a time with Kelly before school becomes hectic, so that she can plan healthier alternatives for the dining hall. Schuermeyer said she feels many incoming freshmen share her concerns. “Everyone dreads going back home during winter break and [having] everyone from high school looking at you because you have gained weight,” Schuermeyer said. “But it is hard when you are eating in the dining rooms and have little control of what you are actually putting in your body. So it is nice to have a resource like Jill on campus.” Kelly will be holding nutrition workshops every Monday starting Oct. 12 between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. at the Wade King

student Recreation Center. Kelly is available for individual nutrition counseling appointments at the Student Health Center and at the rec center. “Providing an empowering environment is my priority,” Kelly said. “One that erases the concept of dieting and encompasses nourishment and mindfulness.” Kelly has completed extensive continuing education in topics such as diabetes wellness, evaluation and treatment of eating disorders, advanced sports nutrition, weight management, metabolic disorders, cardiovascular health, food allergies and malabsorption and women’s health and hormones. Kelly received a bachelor’s degree in community medical nutrition and dietetics from Viterbo University in LaCrosse, Wis. She is nationally registered with the Commission on Dietetic Registration and is certified in Washington. Lisa Philbrook, director of business development for University Dining, said she believes students will schedule time with Kelly regularly to learn how to live a better and healthier lifestyle. “One of the things [Dining Services] wrestled with was what are the priorities for customers,” Philbrook said. “So we feel that Jill will be a huge asset to

addressing the concerns customers had about being educated on food and ingredient use.” In addition to nutritional content of the food served, Western junior Jessica Carey said student knowledge about what they are eating is an important aspect to overall health and nutrition. “I hope that students will be able to go to Jill to ask her advice on how to live a healthier lifestyle. It will also be nice to learn ways to stay on a budget but make healthy choices.”

Providing an empowering environment is my priority. One that erases the concept of dieting and encompasses nourishment and mindfulness. - Jill Kelly Campus Dietitian

Kelly said one of the most common concerns she hears is about the Freshman 15, but she said she believes it is completely avoidable. She said she under-

stands that making healthy decisions in the dining hall is hard but believes there are plenty of healthy options. While Dining Services is still dealing with the details of providing the most effective nutritional information to students, Philbrook said each dining hall is always open to suggestions on how they can better serve their customers. Schuermeyer said she wants to see more vegetarian items in campus dining halls. Schuermeyer said she would like to meet with Kelly to discuss vegetarian diets and vegan options. Kelly said Fairhaven residence halls are the best places to go to find vegetarian and vegan meals. One way to help students make healthy eating choices may be better labeling healthy food items. Kelly said the addition of a logo or other designation to the healthiest entrée served during a given meal would allow students to more easily make more nutritious choices. Dining Services is most dependent upon input from students taken from the comment cards available in each dining hall, Philbrook said. Trying to cater to the diverse requests of the large number of students the dining halls serve is often a difficult task, so hopefully Kelly can be

Featured Artist Chris Vita David Gonzales THE WESTERN FRONT

Stock photo courtesy of Christian Ferrari

From gigging around Bellingham to lecturing in the Fairhaven recording studio, Chris Vita stresses the importance of a balanced mix between creating and recording music. In the two years since accepting the position of Fairhaven lecturer and recording studio coordinator, Vita, 24, has trained many Western students in the art of audio engineering. In that time, he has also recorded local bands such as The Russians and The Contra. He has played solo gigs around town, and even opened for Minus the Bear with his former band Crossfox. But perhaps his biggest accomplishment came this summer when Western accepted his Student Technology Fee grant proposal and awarded Fairhaven nearly $45,000 for recording equipment. While the Fairhaven recording studio already had a modest array of cables and microphones, a fairly modern compressor and distressor and a computer less than a few years old, Vita said it lacked professional grade recording equipment. “We took a very basic level of equipment and we added a whole lot of highend gear to give students an idea of the array of options that you could find in a high-end studio,” Vita said. Vita describes the studio as modest.

photo by David Gonzales THE WESTERN FRONT

Between playing in his band and recording local acts, Chris Vita teaches students the art of audio recording.

Even with the new equipment, the studio itself is small with just one isolation booth and minimal decor. But Vita said minor inconveniences, such as holes in the drywall and the dull buzzing of the overhead fan, do not prohibit students from making quality recordings. Western senior Ray Stewart, who has taken classes from Vita and has also recorded in professional studios, said he has made many quality recordings in the

Fairhaven studio. “It’s not super fancy or anything but with Pro Tools HD, which is the cream of the crop, it’s everything you need to get a professional recording,” Stewart said. Vita graduated from Western in 2007. During his senior year, he began lecturing in the recording studio, balancing faculty life with student life. “It was really weird to have some of your friends as students one hour, then the next hour as classmates,” Vita said. Vita said the most exciting aspect of the grant is that it will give students an opportunity to record with equipment they will never, and should never, buy for their home recording studios. “Our job as an institution of higher learning is to offer equipment that students couldn’t get their hands on,” Vita said. “There is no reason why the private artist should own all this stuff. When you rent a recording room you are able to use all this high end gear.” The grant, which is awarded to a different department each year, consists of $43,594 worth of recording equipment. Among the purchased gear is a highpowered Apple computer valued at approximately $5,000 and two Neumann U87 microphones priced at $3429 each. Vita said just the clips that hold these microphones cost $400 each. Also purchased was a $1295 Royer R-121 ribbon microphone, a pair of $1500 Empirical Labs distressors and a $2,000 Universal Audio

& LiFe

hman 15 | Friday • September 25, 2009

Use sparingly red meat, butter, refi ned grains, potatoes, sugary drinks and sweets

od options


Healthy tips for active minds -If you drink alcohol, drink in moderation.

the resource to meet everyone in the middle, Philbrook said. Kelly said she is excited about students’ interest in healthy eating alternatives and looking forward to meeting with students on a regular basis in order to meet all of their needs. To schedule an appointment with Kelly call the health center at 360-6503400 or e-mail her at

-Take a daily multivitamin with an extra dose of vitamin D

dairy or vitamin D/calcium supplements

Nuts, seeds, beans and tofu (can make great snacks) Fish, poultry and eggs

Whole grains Vegetables and fruits

Healthy fats/oils

1176 compressor. The Fairhaven audio recording program is normally funded solely by course fees, which range from $30 to $70. All of the new equipment, along with $5,000 worth of new cables, are used in sync with the program’s Soundcraft Ghost LE sound board, which is a couple years old and required the department to save one year’s worth of course fees to buy—ap-

"It was really weird to have some of your friends as students one hour, then the next hour as classmates." Chris Vita Fairhaven recording instructor proximately $6,000. Vita has been recording music since he was in high school. He said he has collected close to $5,000 worth of recording equipment since he was 17, which is adequate to create home recordings, but not representative of what a university studio should have. Those familiar with Bellingham’s music scene may remember Vita’s old band Crossfox, which disbanded last year. Since then, Vita has put on solo shows around town and joined a new band, Vantage.

Vita, who played guitar in Crossfox, said the band started off with a great deal of momentum, opening for Minus the Bear as their seventh gig. “We weren’t even ready for it. We didn’t have our songs honed in or polished,” Vita said. Crossfox's momentum started tapering off after that show, Vita said, eventually playing less than one gig a month. In the end the band decided they were not going anywhere. Vita compared Crossfox’s last days together to dating someone while foreseeing a breakup. “We all love each other and we date really well but we couldn’t imagine what married life would be like together so we broke up,” Vita said. Though the band is no more, they managed to record a full-length album that is available in stores around Bellingham. “It’s the first project I’ve been a significant part of that has a barcode and is in stores,” Vita said. “It’s such a good document of what the band was that it is nothing to be sad about. It’s a good capstone.” Vita’s new band, Vantage, is now in full swing. They are playing shows in Bellingham and even planning to tour in Los Angeles. Vita also has a personal goal of learning to play new instruments. He has been playing drums for nine months now, and hopes to drum in a band within the year. Vita is also recording an alternative

Information: Photos courtesy

country solo album. He is currently working with Death Cab for Cutie’s guitarist and audio engineer, Chris Walla. Vita said he considers himself a musician first and foremost, and that without being a musician, audio engineering would be pretty boring. Vita said his professional goal is to do both, like Walla. “Doing one only helps the other,” Vita said. He encourages students who are interested in either creating or recording music to sign up for his class. Ryan O’Flaherty, member of The Russians, has recorded with Vita and said he is friendly and supportive of any ideas the musicians may have. “When he has an idea he always lets you do what you want to do and tries to use his expertise to make sure that the ideas you have are going to work out the way you want them to," O'Flaherty said. "He has the technical know-how, the skills and techniques in the studio to make sure that happens.” Vita plans to continue his private recording business while lecturing at Western for at least a couple more years. “Probably in a year or two, if the economy improves I’ll take off,” Vita said. “The only thing is, I’m only 24 and I haven’t really gone out into a larger music industry to try to work as a recording engineer. I’d also like to be in a band and tour across the country.” Wouldn’t we all?



A signal processor that limits the dynamic range of audio.

Pro Tools HD

A professional-grade audio production software program.

Isolation Booth

A small, soundproof room often used to isolate sound from other instruments. photo by Chris Collison THE WESTERN FRONT

10 | arts & life

Friday • September 25, 2009 | The Western Front

No need to fear the doctor (or the fees) Western's health insurance offers an alternative for students, enables some to remain in school Kayley Richards THE WESTERN FRONT You are sitting in class one day when a searing pain shoots through your stomach. By the end of class, it has not gone away, and it’s getting worse. You head straight to the doctor, and a few hours and X-rays later, you learn that you need immediate emergency surgery. Altogether, your treatment will cost thousands of dollars. This would be a frightening experience for anyone, but for the 4,000 students that Western’s Student Health Center estimates do not have health insurance, the worry would not end when the anesthesia wore off. For a student without health insurance, a medical crisis can result in longlasting financial hardship, said Dr. Emily Gibson, medical director of the Student Health Center. “An appendectomy could easily cost about $10,000 to $12,000, which would be a major financial burden for a student who’s uninsured,” Gibson said. “Often, students who face unexpected financial strain have to leave school to pay off the debt." On average, 325 young adults in Whatcom County who use the emergency room each month do not have health insurance, according to the Whatcom Alli-

ance for Healthcare Access, a Bellingham nonprofit that provides free health care information and advice. Most students lose coverage as dependents on their parents’ insurance plans between the ages of 19 and 25, leaving t h e m without health insurance at a time when they may not be able to afford the fees of a typical insurance plan. But Gibson said Western’s Student Health Insurance Plan, offered through Wells Fargo, is an affordable option that covers the needs of most students. “It’s a comprehensive plan with a low annual deductible,” she said. “We have a desirable population to insure because it’s less expensive to cover young, healthy adults than the general population. So Western’s plan is more affordable than what a student will typically find if they go out on their own to research different plans.” The deadline to enroll in Western’s plan for fall quarter coverage or annual coverage is Oct. 9. The plan is available on an annual or a quarterly basis and covers 90 percent of most inpatient and outpatient services with preferred providers.

A visit to an independent doctor costs a $20 co-pay, while prescription drugs can vary between a $20 and a $35 co-pay. This year, the cost of Western’s student health insurance is $1,236 for annual coverage and $363 for fall quarter coverage. Approximately 360 students are enrolled in Western’s student health insurance plan each year. Some students have found that Western’s plan is one of the only insurance plans that will take them on. “It’s a bit pricey, but the good thing about Western’s insurance is that all you have to do is pay it—you don’t have to be approved,” Western senior Briana Glover said. “I applied for three different plans online, but I wasn’t approved for any of them because my mom died of cancer, I had no credit and I was under 25.” Glover said while she wishes Western’s plan covered vision and dental care, having health insurance has already saved her money. “I had to have a really minor surgery last spring break, and Western’s insur-

ance covered all of it,” Glover said. “That saved me $2,000.” For other students, Western’s insurance plan is not a well known option and may fly under the radar of students searching for affordable health care.

“It’s a bit pricey, but the good thing about Western’s insurance is that all you have to do is pay it—you don’t have to be approved.” Briana Glover, Western senior “I wasn’t even aware that an insurance plan existed through Western,” Western junior Allie Lynn said. “They don’t really advertise it, as far as I know.” Gibson said brochures about Western’s health insurance plan are handed out to Western students and parents at Summerstart and Transitions, and brochures are also available in the Student Health Center. But Western senior Sam Apted said she had never heard of Western’s insurance plan and that she does not think the plan is advertised efficiently. “I’ve worked at Summerstart, and I didn’t see any brochures about a health plan through Western,” Apted said. “I

arts & life | | Friday • September 25, 2009 think if it were better advertised, more people would have health insurance.” Not all students feel that Western’s insurance plan meets the coverage needs of the average student. Western junior Julia McLean had health insurance through Western for two years but was disappointed that Western’s plan does not cover contraceptives or injuries incurred while playing Western sports. McLean decided not to renew her coverage this year. “With Western’s plan, the deductible is low, but [even without insurance] if I get sick, I can go to the health center for free and get contraceptives and other prescription drugs at reduced cost, which is generally all that most students require,” McLean said. Gibson said Western’s insurance plan has caps and limitations on coverage in order to keep premiums low so that students can afford the plan, and that Western’s plan is not ideal for students with chronic health problems. She said another good option for students is catastrophic health insurance, which comes with a higher deductible but costs less per month than Western’s plan. “With a catastrophic plan, your cost per month is $50 to $60, but you’re responsible for the first $3,000 to $5,000 in the event of a major accident or illness,” Gibson said. “But after that, a catastrophic plan would have you covered up to several hundred thousand dollars. Many students elect to have a plan like this.” More information on Western’s student health insurance plan and other plans available to students can be found on the Student Health Center’s Web site.


ey unlocks community Anna Atkinson THE WESTERN FRONT Bellingham’s key to the city does not fit in any lock. But unlike any other kind of key, this key offered by Mayor Dan Pike to comedian news anchor Jon Stewart has opened discussion and a community effort. While the city itself has done little to promote the idea, the community has taken matters into its own hands. By Sept. 23, the “Jon Stewart Accept a Key to Bellingham WA” Facebook page had acquired 5,460 fans since its creation on Sept. 9 by Scott Pierce of the Maple Street Foundation, an organization that provides social networking and media resources to promote community, culture, charity and commerce. Along with the Facebook fan page, Pierce created a Twitter petition that now has 640 signatures. “We want to do it because it would be funny and it would be lighthearted and it would be really good for the community too,” said Haylee Nighbert, a writer for What's Up! Magazine. “I think it would be really uplifting to Bellingham and I don’t think we need to be dragged down by all these political

issues right now.” When Pierce told Nighbert about the campaign over Twitter, she asked to be involved in any way she could, which resulted in her becoming an administrator for the page. Nighbert said she wrote a letter to Stewart and The Daily Show, and became involved in getting the word out in the community. Mount Vernon Mayor Bud Norris' offering of his city's key to Fox News host Glenn Beck has been associated with the Jon Stewart campaign. Nighbert said the fan page is less about Glenn Beck being offered the key to the city in Mount Vernon, and more about wanting Jon Stewart to come to Bellingham. She said Pierce and herself are not promoting the idea of Jon Stewart coming to Bellingham for political purposes. Nighbert said her current goal is to encourage people to post videos on the Facebook page asking Jon Stewart to come to Bellingham in order to help get the word out. Pierce said there is a lack of civility in the media's discussion of culture and politics. “I am getting desensitized to debating this kind of stuff,” he said, referring to the protests and political debates surrounding the key to the city events. “It’s

like, if this can’t be entertaining at all then why do it?” Pierce said the page is not focused on the protests in Mount Vernon. He said visitors to the page have been debating whether or not to support the protesting. People either think that the page is giving the protestors too much attention, or not enough, he said. “As soon as those protestors would get on our case about not promoting their events, it’s like that’s not what this page is about,” he said. “We’ll throw [them] a little love every so-often, just to show anybody who wants to protest they can protest.” He said people are desensitized to protesting, and that the giving of the key has lost its entertainment value. His contribution to the protest is Jon Stewart mask downloads on the fan page, so that the protesters can wear them. “I want to see 100 Jon Stewart masks,” Pierce said. He said he had been tracking the downloads and that there had been approximately 50 so far. Pierce said the community is on board with the idea and is helping to get things ready. “Three of our fans work at Mount Baker Theatre and Mount Baker Theatre has already said, ‘If Jon Stewart’s coming out, you can use us,’” he said.




See more online at Friday • September 25, 2009 | The Western Front

Get out there and explore Bellingham and the surrounding community have much more to offer area can yield opportunities to get out and Boulevard Park and Zuanich Point Frontline have fun. Up north in Birch Bay students Park are great places for a walk near the Opinions of the Editorial Board

It’s that time of year again. Classes have started. Homework is being handed out. Students will damage their eyes and spines hunched over textbooks in poorly lit residence halls­—hours spent in study. However, hanging out on campus and in the dorms are not the only things to enjoy about being at Western. In between tests, cramming and sleep there are plenty of hours of the day to spend exploring Bellingham and the surrounding community. Get outside of campus and away from Western every once in a while. Branch out and experience all that this great area has to offer. The weather will hopefully be nice for a little while longer. If the sun persists, students should get outside and enjoy the scenery before the leaves fall and the rain hits hard. Taking a mellow drive down Chuckanut Drive or meandering around the back trails of Fairhaven is a great way to blow off some steam or simply get away. For more of a challenge, hiking the Oyster Dome trail off Chuckanut offers great views of Puget Sound after a good seven miles.

water and for participating in activities such as picnicking, Frisbee throwing and kite-flying. Inside Bellingham proper there are several interesting establishments for students to check out. The Upfront Theatre features local comedy actors performing improv comedy every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. The Upfront will also offer an improv class starting in October. Ryan Stiles, from “The Drew Carey Show” and “Whose Line is it Anyway?,” owns the theater, and has been know to make appearances during shows. Bellingham also has plenty of good restaurants to enjoy. Those not feeling like dining hall food or fast food can hit up Boomer’s Drive-In or Bob’s Burgers for a good hamburger. On Rice or Busara provide good, affordable Thai cuisine, while Dos Padres, Jalapeños and Sol de Mexico serve good food from south of the border. For those of the appropriate age, bars such as the Up & Up, Boundary Bay Brewery and the Beaver Inn provide a casual atmosphere and plenty of seating. Clubs like Rumors and the Nightlight turn up the volume and sometimes provide live music shows. Traveling outside the Bellingham

can walk out onto the mud flats at low tide. By driving east to Lynden, students can get lost in a corn maze off Hannegan Road untill the end of September. Students can go to both Ferndale and Lynden to pick their own fruit and learn about growing and harvesting apples, pumpkins and berries. BelleWood Acres in Lynden allows people to explore the process of fruit picking, packaging and juicing while Barbie’s Berries specializes in strawberries, raspberries and blackberries. While berry season is over, students can purchase frozen berries. There are plenty of opportunities to get out and do something different in Bellingham and Whatcom County. While Western has a great campus and many enjoyable programs, trying something new will enrich the college experience. So find a new restaurant to enjoy, get out to to the ocean and have some fun. This will probably be your home for some time, so explore it and what it has to offer.

Viking Voices

Opinions from around campus

How do you think Western has prepared for a swine flu outbreak? Compiled by Mark Stayton

Lamarr Palmer Junior "I think the university seems to have taken as many precautions as they can."

The Editorial Board is comprised of the Editor-in-Chief Rebecca Rice, Managing Editor Audrey Dubois-Boutet and Opinion Editor Tristan Hiegler. Kelly Tanga

On the shores of the cosmic ocean

Scott Burger Guest Columnist College campuses, for all intents and purposes, have the lighting equivalent of a small town. A walk from one end to the other is done under very bright lights. And yet, despite this seeming inundation of photons from our courteous local power supply, these small towns can have some very dark places. It’s no secret that people are scared of the dark. They are scared of what they don’t understand, of what they can’t see coming. These dark areas of college campuses are most likely avoided for safety reasons, which are always a reasonable thing to do. But some dark areas, such as old football fields or grassy parks with few trees, are safe and dark. They allow us to safely explore the surrounding area without fear of some crazy person leaping out from around a corner. They allow us to see forward and around and, most importantly, up. You know, we humans are a very lucky creature to be able to look up. Some animals on the earth, like pigs, are physically incapable of looking up. They’ll never be able to hobble into the Sistine

Chapel and gaze in wonder at Michelangelo’s works. They’ll never be able to walk the streets of downtown Chicago to marvel at the wondrous skyscrapers. We can take them for a walk in those dark sky places, but while we have the luxury of looking up, they don’t. We have to conquer our fear of the dark to venture out into the park as night, lie on the grass and use our gift that pigs cannot. Over the weekend I took my telescope out of my garage, dusted it off and set it up in my backyard. The Bellingham area, despite numerous streetlamps, is quite a dark city. Even on the Western campus you can walk tens of feet outside your dormitory door into a place that’s reasonably clear of streetlights and trees. The grass in front of the Communication Facility is a fantastic sky watching spot, as well as the two fields by Fairhaven. Boulevard Park is always a great spot as well. Even though our color vision is quite good in the daylight, our night vision is rather drab. Due to the structure of the human eye, everything at night appears as a kind of gray/blue color. However, we can still enjoy the wonders of the cosmos in stupendous awe by getting up off our computers, out the door into the crisp fall air and into these dark sky sites. It may take a few minutes for your eyes to adjust, but the show is far better than anything on the prime time lineups these days. With my modest telescope I was able to see Jupiter shimmering in the autumn sky, its red hydrocarbon bands just barely

visible. Even the simple act of aimlessly scanning the telescope across the faint band of stars that makes up the center of the Milky Way packs in more excitement than a suitcase filled with adrenaline. I was sitting there, just staring at the stars and pondering, when some satellite silently and swiftly drifted in and out of my eyepiece like a star using turbo boosters. These are just some of the literally limitless rewards we get for conquering the dark and by exploring the other dark part of the world: our fascination with the night sky. We have the physical ability to crane our necks up, so why not use it? Why squander this ability at night by looking forward at a computer screen killing time? There’s a reason why astronomy is the oldest of all the sciences. You, too, have a chance to connect to people 100,000 years ago just by looking up and going “woah”. Poets have written about shooting stars since there has been written language to do so. For millennia prior, stories of the stars were handed down through song, dance and culture. The heavens above are integral to cultural history across all continents throughout the ages. Curiosity and wonder about our environment and the world around us is as deep and integral to our being as bone. As William Blake wrote, sometimes you can truly "Hold infinity in the palm of your hand." Scott Burger is a Western senior majoring in Physics.


"I got an e-mail sent to me about things to do if we ever get [swine flu], and all my professors today touched base on it, saying what happens and what you need to do if you get it."

Shari Karber

Senior "Departments are preparing for it by having hand sanitizer everywhere. I saw hand sanitizer on the desk and was like, 'Oh, that's funny.'"

Want to SUBMIT TO THE WESTERN FRONT? The Western Front is looking for community members to submit 400- to 500-word columns about Western-related issues or 250-word letters to the editor. Send your submissions to

See more online at Friday • September 25, 2009 | The Western Front

sports | 13

Hockey club laces up before hitting the ice Vikings prepare new offensive strategies for 30th season with promising new recruits Mark Stayton THE WESTERN FRONT Yes, Viking football is gone, and it will be missed. But for spurned sports fans looking for brutal hits, fast action and cheap entertainment on weekend nights, there is hope. The Western Hockey Club returns this fall after a 14-8-1 season last year with some promising new talent and an aggressive game strategy. The hockey illiterate may need a few minutes to get a grasp of the rules, but when the boys in blue put the biscuit in the basket, feel free to go wild. “When there’s lots of people going crazy and screamin’ and yellin’, it just makes it way more fun,” returning Head Coach John Dougan said. “The kids get pumped up, the fans get them pumped up. Anytime you get lots of people here, it just makes it a ball. The kids love it.” The Vikings’ game strategy is designed to entertain the fans and win games, with more goals, Dougan said. Dougan is implementing an aggressive forechecking strategy with the team, meaning offense will put pressure on the puck and hit opponents in their defensive zone. “Our forechecking system is designed to attack and score goals as opposed to sitting back and worrying about getting scored on ourselves,” he said. “I mean nothing’s worse than a one-nothing game.” Senior defenseman James Walker is returning, along with fellow seniors Jeff Bulger and Patrick MacLauchlan. Bulger, 22, last year’s leading scorer with 33 goals, will be returning as team captain and club president. Walker and Matt Par-

photo by Alex Roberts THE WESTERN FRONT

Western senior Reid Anderson dodges a University of Washington defender at the Bellingham Sportsplex during a game last season.

sons, a returning junior, were also big contributors last season; both earning more than 25 combined points, which includes goals and assists. “We got eight new players coming in, and they’re all good,” Dougan said. Problems with the team last year hinged on low player turnout for the later

games and practices in the season due to waning interest, Dougan said. At one game last year, the Vikings showed up with only eight skaters. After an official team practice and five team skills workshops, Bulger said he sees signs of improvement. “Everyone’s hustling, everyone’s showing up, everyone seems to be really into it this year and it’ll really show once we get into our games,” he said. Western’s hockey club competes in the Western Conference of the Men’s Division II American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA). There are 48 teams in the conference. Although Western usually plays teams fairly close to home, they are currently fundraising to open up more travel opportunities and play bigger programs. In the ACHA, playoff contenders are decided by rankings submitted by the other teams in the conference. Beating a powerhouse—sometimes a few states away—naturally bumps a team up in the rankings, but travel can be expensive and players sometimes pay out of pocket. “You don’t know how good you are or how bad you are until you get your chance to play the upper-level teams,” Dougan said. “Washington should have a good team so that’ll be a good gauge for us.” Last year Western was 1-1 against the University of Washington, who ended up

ranked 13th in the division. This season the Vikings will take on the Huskies at home on Nov. 13. “UW games in the past have brought in hundreds and hundreds of people,” Bulger said. “It’s so much fun when there’s all those people there and everyone’s banging on the glass.” Ticket and merchandise sales along with alumni contributions help fund the team, whose total budget is estimated to be about $20,000 a season, Dougan said. For the first time in recent history the club is selling season tickets, giving holders access to 14 home games for $25, Bulger said. Tickets are also available at the door: $3 for youth and Western students with ID, $5 for adults. Home games will be held at Bellingham Sportsplex, near Civic Field off Lakeway. The Vikings' first exhibition match will be against the University of Puget Sound at 10:15 p.m. on Oct. 2 at home. The final roster will be prepared before the matchup, Bulger said. The locker room hummed with anticipation for the match after practice last Monday. “Oh man, I’m pumped for the season opener,” said returning sophomore Greg Parsons. For season tickets, merchandise, team schedule and news, visit www.wwuice

UPCOMING GAMES AT THE BELLINGHAM SPORTSPLEX • Sunday, 9/27 vs Western Alumni, 9:45 AM • Friday, 10/2 vs University of Puget Sound, 10:15 PM • Friday, 10/9 vs University of Montana, 10:15 PM photo by Mark Stayton THE WESTERN FRONT

Coach John Dougan talks strategy to the team during their last preseason practice.

14 | SporTS

Friday • September 25, 2009 | The Western Front

Annual 'Night' carries on without football Organizers aim to compensate for void left by football program Jenna Mohrweis THE WESTERN FRONT On Oct. 1, Western’s Athletics department will hold its annual Key Bank Viking Night Dinner and Sports Auction. The 20th annual event will take place at 5 p.m. at Sam Carver Gymnasium. The event is held to raise scholarship funds for Western’s student-athletes. Over the 19-year history of Viking Night, $1 million has been raised, providing many student-athletes the opportunity to achieve their dreams both academically and athletically. Last year’s Viking Night raised approximately $150,000 for athletic scholarships. The money was split between 13 different sports, including football, men's and women’s golf, men's and women’s basketball, cross country, track and field, volleyball, softball, women’s rowing and spirit squad. Leigha Anderson, a marketing intern for the Athletics Department, said this year will be different without the football team at the auction. “Last year they were there helping in their jerseys,” Anderson said. Anderson said some alumni have chosen not to attend the auction because they are still upset about the decision to cut the football program. “Of course there are the people who want to make a statement and are deciding to not attend the event and to boycott the decision we made last year,” said Katie Rothenberg, chair coordinator for the auction. “But with every person who is not coming, there are still many who understand where the [Athletics Department] was coming from and still want to support the other teams.” Both Rothenberg and Anderson

agreed that there are many members of the community and local businesses who realize the importance of the auction and how many student-athletes they are supporting. “Supporters who have always supported us are still supporting,” Rothenberg said. “They have stayed loyal to us, and want to support us regardless.” Western junior Anthony Zackery played on the football team and was the

Western football and the athletic department in a positive light.” Zackery said he agrees with the committee in believing that there will be a different mood and vibe at Viking Night because the football team will not be present. But he said he also believes in the purpose of Viking Night and believes the athletic department will be able to make a dramatic difference in the lives of student athletes.

20th annual Viking Night Notable items to be auctioned off • • • • • • •

Key arena suite for a Storm game, with Head Coach Carmen Dolfo — donated by Key Bank. Seattle Sounder Kasey Keller autographed jersey — donated by Western Athletics and Hamann’s Gifts and Gallery. Hydroplane ride — donated by Vashon Unlimited LLC. Seven night Maui vacation — Bellingham Travel & Cruise. Salmon barbecue party for 12 — donated by John Walton Golf and country club membership — donated by Avalon Golf & Country Club Upcoming birthday party with Western's volleyball team, including a cake made by a Western player — donated by Western Athletics Infographic by Audrey Dubois-Boutet THE WESTERN FRONT

2008 scholar-athlete of the year. He will be recognized at Viking Night for his impact during his time as a football player at Western. Zackery said this year will be different because he has always been a part of Viking Night, but this year he will be on the other side. “It is different to go from working Viking Night to instead being a guest,” Zackery said. “But I am grateful for the honor. I am glad that I can still represent

“One thing is obvious; there won’t be as many big bodies walking around,” Zackery said. The loss of the football team and the recession have been the two hardest difficulties the committee has experienced in preparing for the auction, Rothenberg said. Committee members believe the team will be missed and the void will be felt, but the Viking Night committee is confident they can make up for their loss.

The committee is leaning on parents, players and coaches to help make this year successful. Rothenberg said the committee is excited to see the new faces and new money that will be attending this year. “We worked really hard to fill the void, and are excited about the people who stepped up and want to help and support us,” said Brandi Petz, Western’s assistant track and field coach and Viking Night committee member. “People went above and beyond our expectations, and we are really excited to see how it turns out.” Petz said she believes the money will equate to how much they raised last year because they are splitting the total revenue among teams. “Every year we top ourselves and outdo what we did the year before,” Petz said. “Even with the football team gone, I think we will still raise just as much money if not more than we did before. Plus, we will have more money to give to each individual sport now that football is no longer around.” The Bellingham Herald predicted the decision to cut the football team will save Western approximately $450,000 a year and the university’s athletic department will no longer finish in the red, as it has done in each of the last five years. In previous years, the Viking Night committee has focused on filling tables with local businesses and professionals from the Bellingham area. This year, the committee said coaches have stepped up and are working on filling tables. Over the past 19 years, more than 2,500 student athletes have benefited from the annual Viking Night Auction, Rothenberg said. see FUNDRAISER page 15

Sports | Friday • September 25, 2009

Volleyball loses in tug-of-war matchup

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Fundraiser: Key Bank hosts auctions from 14

photo by David Gonzales THE WESTERN FRONT

Western freshman Marlayna Geary winds up for another kill. Geary led the team with 15 kills against Anchorage.

Western's 17-game winning streak against UAA broken David Gonzales THE WESTERN FRONT The Lady Vikings fought tooth and nail Thursday night but fell just short of victory, as the University of Alaska Anchorage Seawolves stole the match in the fifth set 11-15. Anchorage coach Nicky Rose said they played their most consistent game of their season. “Western Washington has phenomenal teams all the time, so we just tell [The Seawolves] to play their hearts out and see what happens in the end,” Rose said. “I think the ball just rolled on our side of the court.” After losing the first set, Western rallied back to win the second. Continuing the fierce game of tug of war, they lost the third set 17-25, and won the fourth 25-21. “They had some sparks with the game plan,” said Viking coach Diane Flick. “But for the most part we didn’t run it. We didn’t execute the simple parts of the game.”

Though Western lost the match, they achieved more blocks and fewer errors than Anchorage. The loss brought the Vikings' overall record to 9-5 and their Great Northwest Athletic Conference record to 2-1.

“Western Washington has phenomenal teams all the time, so we just tell [the Seawolves] to play their hearts out and see what happens in the end.” Nicky Rose, Alaska Anchorage coach Western sophomore Emily Jepsen, who led the team in blocks Thursday, said although their 17-match winning streak against the Seawolves was brought to a halt, she is confident Western will win the Sept. 26 match against University of Alaska Fairbanks.

“I’m sure we are going to come back Saturday,” Jepsen said. “There is no way we are going to lose twice.” Flick said the key to winning Saturday’s game is to focus on simplifying their strategy. “We go too complex sometimes, and that gets us in a frenzy where we just can’t run the basic plays,” Flick said. “So we try to bring it back to the basic part of the game but we still couldn’t get there today.” Jepsen said in order to make it to the championship, the Lady Vikings need to step it up a notch. “The heart of it is just going all out in practice,” Jepsen said. “How we are doing in our practices is going to reflect exactly how we are going to do in the games—we just have to push ourselves hard.” Flick said the Vikings need to make a quick turnaround in order to even think about the championship. “We have to bounce back, we have no other choice. If we can’t bounce back from this, then we’ve got a long season ahead of us,” Flick said.

“I have been going to the auctions for years because I know how much it helps all of those wonderful student-athletes,” Bellingham resident Jan McDonald said. “And even though my husband is sad the football team is gone we still know there are many other students who need support.” Viking Night is recognized as one of the premier social events in Whatcom County, with more than 500 Western supporters in attendance each year, she said. “We have many other varsity sports that are continuing to excel and we are choosing to focus on them and raising money so that they can be the best,” Anderson said. The theme of this year’s event, "Celebrating 20 Years of Viking Night," will give attendees an opportunity to meet athletes of the year from 1990 to 2009, and to see the impact the event has made on their lives. “We want everyone to stand and be proud of the time they spent here, whether it was last year on the football team or 10 years ago with the synchronized swimming team,” Rothenberg said. “We are hoping that the theme will bring supporters from every sport over the years to come out and be recognized for their time and legacy here at Western.” Viking Night will feature both silent and live auctions, a catered dinner and local entertainment. Key Bank has been the title sponsor of Viking Night for more than 10 years. Among the items for bid will be sports memorabilia, vacations, season tickets and other packages. All proceeds from Viking Night directly support Western athletics programs and scholarships. Activities begin at 5 p.m., with a hosted cocktail party and a five-part silent auction. Dinner will be served at 7 p.m., followed by the live auction. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by contacting the Western Athletics Department at 360-650-4314. Those wishing to donate an item for auction can also call that number.

16 | sports

Friday • September 25, 2009 | The Western Front

Vikings hold on until double overtime Men's soccer loses nail-biter to Montana State University Billings Lindsey Otta THE WESTERN FRONT Western's men's soccer team battled long into the night against Montana State University Billings, pulling the match into double overtime before losing 1-2 at Whatcom Community College's Orca Field.on Thursday. Western sophomore Kellan Brown scored the team’s only goal with 1 minute, 41 seconds left in the second half, tying the game. Montana State junior Chris Andre scored the final goal of the night with 4 minutes, 44 seconds on the clock, effectively ending the match. “The game didn’t go exactly as we wanted to,” Western coach Travis Connell said. “We were hoping to have a little bit more of a stronger showing, and we did learn some things from those and so we’re trying keep getting better every day.” Connell said the game was a disappointing result, but he was proud of the team for the way they battled against Montana State. Connell said the team gave up the early goal and some teams would have given up then, but they worked hard and got back into the game. Connell said Montana State was organized defensively, and it made it hard to penetrate. When MSU got their chances, they finished them. “This season we’ve been giving up

a couple too many goals,” associate head coach Greg Brisbon said. “But, all mistakes are fixable.” Western senior midfielder Mitch Barrows said they could improve on closing out some games, but the team excels at counterattacking. “Our strength lies in our midfield,” Brisbon said. “We have good, fast players but it takes everyone to be successful.” So far this season the team has an overall record of 3-6-0 and a conference

record of 0-1-0. Barrows said last year's weakness was low team chemistry, but this season is the best he has seen in the four years he has played for the team. The five new freshmen players on the roster are defenders Chris Brundage and Bryan Hall, forward Justin Moore, midfielder Sujinda Dangvan and goalkeeper Leo Cohen. Brisbon said he sees a lot of potential in the new players, especially Brund-

age who has started in all the games this season. Brisbon and Barrows both said the biggest competition for the team is Seattle Pacific University, who are undefeated so far this season (6-0-3). “We are going to have to take our chances, and when we get our opportunity we need to take advantage of them,” Connell said. “We haven’t done that this season, if we can do that in the game we can beat anyone.”

photo by Rhys Logan THE WESTERN FRONT

Left to right: Western’s Kellan Brown, Tyler Bjork, Oscar Jimenez and Cris Geday brace themselves for University of Montana Billings forward Chris Andre. The Vikings lost the match 1-2 in double overtime on Thursday September 24.

September 25th Edition  


September 25th Edition